Education and training
In order to become a naturopathic doctor, one must first complete an undergraduate degree at university. The naturopathic student then enters into a four-year, full-time accredited naturopathic medical program. Training includes basic, medical, and clinical science; diagnostics; naturopathic principles and therapeutics; and extensive clinical experience under the supervision of qualified naturopathic doctors. The ND program consists of 4000 hours in class training and a minimum of 1,200 hours of clinical experience. Graduates will be required to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX) and pass this exam in order to practice the profession.
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only government-recognized accrediting body for naturopathic medical schools in Canada and the United States. The CNME has accredited the following naturopathic medical programs:
- Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster, British Columbia
- Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario
- National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon
- Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington and San Diego, California
- University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in Bridgeport, Connecticut
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Scottsdale, Arizona
- National University of Health Sciences Naturopathic Program in Lombard, Illinois –
- The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) has granted candidacy status to the naturopathic program at the Universidad del Turabo School of Health Sciences (Puerto Rico)
*The QANM is supporting the École d’enseignement supérieur de naturopathie du Québec (EESNQ) who has recently upgraded their naturopathy program in order to achieve pre-accreditation/candidacy status with the Council of the Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
Regulation in provinces and Territories
Many NDs in Canada who are practicing in an unregulated province choose to maintain an out-of-province registration in a regulated province. To find out if a naturopathic doctor is qualified, either check with the naturopathic regulatory board of your province or contact the CAND.
Under regulations approved April 9, 2009, naturopathic physicians in B.C. became the first in Canada to be granted prescribing authority. NDs that completed the required certification began prescribing September 7, 2010. The BCNA and the CNPBC are currently focusing their efforts on lab access for NDs.
On August 1, 2012 Alberta CNDA became the fifth province to regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine under Alberta’s Health Professions Act, umbrella legislation for health professions. Initially, NDs will not have prescribing authority but will maintain access to IV substances and have been awarded a number of other controlled acts.
In May of 2015, The Naturopathic Medicine Act passed third reading in the Legislature. The SANP is currently engaged in updating bylaws to align with the new Act. Upon Royal Assent the SANP will become the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Saskatchewan and NDs in the province will be able to practice to their full Scope of Practice.
In-line with BC and AB, NDs in Manitoba will be moved under the umbrella legislation for all health care professions passed in 2009. NDs will be included in the second wave of professions to be moved under the legislation, anticipated to take place in 2013 – 2015, and will be asking for a full scope of practice similar to what has been awarded in BC.
On July 1, 2015 the Naturopathy Act was proclaimed permitting NDs to prescribe, dispense, compound or sell “drugs” and access laboratory tests as designated by regulation. Upon Proclamation of the new Act, the Transition Council of the College of Naturopaths became the College of Naturopaths of Ontario and regulates the profession. You’ll find more information at OAND.org.
Regulation in Quebec is still pending. Efforts are ongoing to move their file forward to obtain a Professional Order.
NBAND has completed draft title protection legislation which will ensure only qualified NDs in the province are able to use the title Naturopathic Doctor. They continue to work with the Ministry of Health to move the proposed legislation forward. In the meantime, as in other unregulated jurisdictions, many NDs maintain an out-of-province registration in a regulated jurisdiction.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Despite the fact there are only four NDs practicing on “the Rock” they do have an association. Regulation is a vision for the future. In the meantime they are very busy and hoping that new graduates will see the benefit of moving to a province desperately in need of naturopathic medical services.
The Naturopathic Doctors Act was passed in 2008 granting title protection and the ability for patients to claim ND services as an income tax deduction. The NSAND is now engaged with government on amendments to the Act and the development of regulations.
Prince Edward Island
NDs in PEI have been consistent in approaching government for regulation. With the announcement of umbrella legislation for health professionals the PEIAND is once again engaged in discussions with the Minister and staff on the importance of moving forward and including naturopathic doctors in the legislation.
The YNA consists of four hard-working NDs. As yet unregulated they are seeking more NDs wishing to practice in the beautiful north.
North West Territories
The NWTAND is actively working with the government on the Proposed Naturopathic Profession Regulation under the Health and Social Services Professions Act.
Currently, 18 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. For more information about the regulation of naturopathic doctors in the United States visit website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.