Welcome to the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia!
All your hard work has paid off and you’re now a registered physical therapist in BC – congratulations! We look forward to working with you and supporting you during your career. There are a few things you should know as you continue on this exciting journey. This welcome guide will help you get started.
This resource is adapted with permission and gratitude from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism
We are committed to taking action to embed Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism into the College’s culture, governance and operations. We, along with many other health regulatory colleges, recently adopted Practice Standard 21: Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility and Anti-Racism which sets clear expectations for you about providing culturally safe and anti-racist care for Indigenous clients.
Please take time to review the information and resources on our website and reach out if you have questions about the Core Concepts and principles within the Standard.
We acknowledge that CPTBC’s office is located on the unceded territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples – xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking peoples – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.
CPTBC serves all people living in the traditional and unceded territories of over 200 First Nations and 39 Chartered Métis communities across the province.
We have begun to engage with Indigenous artists and to incorporate Indigenous artwork throughout the CPTBC website in response to Recommendation 10 in the In Plain Sight report.
Physical Therapist – Protected Titles
Now that you’re registered you can officially use the titles physical therapist and physiotherapist, and the abbreviation PT. You can now use any of these designations after your name. For example:
Sandeep Singh PT
These three titles are protected by law and can only be used by individuals who are registered with the College.
Your Registration Number
You now have a unique registration number. This is like your fingerprint as a PT and is a way for the College and other stakeholders like insurance companies to identify you.
It’s important that you protect your registration number and use it appropriately when providing and billing for treatment. Do not allow someone else to use your registration number.
Misuse may have consequences including disciplinary action and being de-listed by insurance companies.
To avoid misuse and to learn what to do if your name / registration number have been misused, see the Fraudulent Billing section of our website.
The Public Directory
The Public Directory is an online directory of all registered physical therapists in BC.
It’s an important tool that anyone can use to find a physical therapist or search for publicly available information about their PT including:
- registration status
- place of employment
- additional skills (such as whether they are confirmed to offer dry needling)
- whether there are any conditions or limits on their ability to practice physical therapy
Note that in order to help protect your registration number, it is not shown on the Public Directory. This helps prevent anyone else from using it.
The Public Directory can be accessed by clicking the orange box (see below) at the top right of the CPTBC website.
Check out your own profile now – type in your name and see what comes up!
Our website will be an important tool for you throughout your career.
There are important materials that you should review regularly to ensure you continue to meet College requirements and expectations in your practice.
Standards, Rules, Legislation & Resources
Standards are set by the College and support provincial legislation by outlining the minimum expectation for an aspect of practice. The College has standards for:
- Client Assessment, Diagnosis, Interventions
- Client-Centered Care
- Collaborative Practice
- Conflict of Interest
- Documentation and Record-Keeping
- Evidence-Informed Practice
- Fees and Billing
- Infection Control
- Legislative Responsibilities
- Privacy / Confidentiality
- Professional Boundaries & Sexual Misconduct
- Quality Improvement
- Risk Management
- Use of Title
- Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility and Anti-Racism
Additional Practice Resources
Additional resources are available to help you practice and bring the regulations, bylaws and standards to life. The College has ‘Advice to Consider’ resources, guidance / interpretive documents, recorded webinars, and other learning tools available.
Examples of topics include:
- Consent to Treatment
- Charting / Documentation
- Starting / Leaving / Closing a Physical Therapy Practice
- Working with Physical Therapist Support Workers
- Marketing and Advertising
- Professional Boundaries
Be sure you review the standards and rules carefully before you start practicing.
A Must Read: Starting a New Job Checklist
CPTBC’s Starting a New Job Checklist outlines all of the professional obligations you should consider before signing an employment contract.
Regulations are laws published under the Health Professions Act (HPA) (1996). These are not set by the College, but by the provincial government as they address aspects of practice that have the greatest potential to result in harm to the public.
Important New Act
The Health Professions and Occupations Act (HPOA) was introduced by the BC Government on October 19, 2022 and received Royal Assent on November 24, 2022. It is now up to the Cabinet to determine when the new Act will take effect; until it takes effect, the College continues to operate under the existing Health Professions Act.
The new Act describes a variety of changes to the regulation of health professions, including reflecting some of the key recommendations of the 2020 In Plain Sight Report: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care (PDF) and further implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Action Plan. It also builds on the ongoing process of amalgamation of health regulatory colleges.
CPTBC Registrant Portal
You can download an electronic copy of your practice permit when you are logged into the CPTBC Registrant Portal. However, your most current professional information and confirmation that you’re a registered PT in BC is found in the Public Directory for public access.
Visit the Registrant Portal to make changes to your employment or personal information and complete your annual renewal.
How to Log In
- Visit www.cptbc.org
- Click the blue ‘Registrant Login’ button at the top right
- Log in with the email and password you set during the registration process
As a registrant, your profile should already be set up.
Through the Registrant Portal you can download or print your annual renewal tax receipt and your practice permit.
Annual Renewal & Fees
To practice as a PT in BC you must be registered with the College and you’re required to renew your registration annually. Reminders are sent via email so be sure to keep your contact information up to date.
The annual renewal process is completed online in the Registrant Portal. You will be asked to verify or update your employment and personal information, answer questions to confirm you meet registration requirements and pay your annual registration fee of $500.
If you do not complete renewal by the May 31 deadline, your registration will be cancelled effective June 1. You must then apply for reinstatement and pay a penalty fee of $175 – so be sure to renew on time!
Beginning in 2024, during annual renewal you’ll be asked to sign a declaration indicating that you have accumulated at least 1,200 practice hours over the previous five-year period.
Practice hours may include hours worked that you’ve been paid for or volunteer activities that require physical therapy knowledge and theory.
You don’t need a job whose job title is officially physiotherapist, physical therapist or PT to claim practice hours. If you’re unsure whether your hours count as practice hours, contact the College at email@example.com.
Once you have the required training and experience, you can apply to the College to use dry needling within your physical therapy practice.
You must have:
- Two years of recent PT practice experience
- Proof of completion of an approved program
You may not use dry needling in your PT practice in BC without being confirmed by CPTBC to do so. Once confirmed, “dry needling” will be visible as an additional skill beside your name in the Public Directory.
Making Changes to Your Information
Switching Jobs? Moving? Changing Your Phone Number?
You must inform the College of any updates to your personal or employment information within five days of the change.
Changes can be made using the Registrant Portal and must be made throughout the year, not only during annual renewal.
Some changes (like a name change) need to be made by College staff. Log into the Registrant Portal to request a change and upload your legal name change document. Contact the Registration team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Health Profession Corporations
If you provide physical therapy services and your physical therapy business is incorporated (either as an individual or as a clinic/workplace), BC law requires you to register your health profession corporation with the College. You have to apply for and maintain an annual health profession corporation permit. You must renew by March 31 each year, and you’ll get an email to remind you.
The College regulates health profession corporations, but we don’t regulate the name of your business, and we can’t advise whether incorporation is right for you – you should talk to your lawyer and/or accountant about these issues.
You should also ensure the name of your health profession corporation does not confuse or mislead the public and that you avoid potential conflict with other businesses.
When you first apply, the fee is $290 ($200 for the application fee and $90 for the permit fee). Then each year after that, the permit renewal fee is $90. Like your registration renewal, you’ll complete this renewal online in the Registrant Portal.
If you do not complete the annual renewal by the March 31 deadline, your health profession corporation permit will be cancelled effective April 1. You must then re-apply and pay the application fee ($200) again – so be sure to renew on time!
Your Professional Obligations
Now that you’re a registered PT, you need to meet certain professional obligations. These obligations include:
- Annual Self Report
- Supportive Workplace Self-Reflection
- Professional Development
- Liability Insurance
Annual Self Report (ASR)
The ASR is a questionnaire that you need to complete online annually. It’s available every year from May 1 to May 31, so you can finish it before you start your annual renewal. You’ll receive an email that contains an access link when it opens each year. You need to download and include the certificate of completion when you complete your renewal.
The ASR is an opportunity for you to learn about the level of risk within your practice. You are asked questions about your education, years since graduation, area of practice, and other demographic information. Based on your answers, the College provides information about your potential risks to your practice and identifies supports to help mitigate those risks.
There is no pass or fail, and the College doesn’t receive your personal responses (we only see overall data from all registrants). You need to complete it before the deadline. Then you can use your individualized report to mitigate any identified risks.
Supportive Workplace Self-Reflection (SWS)
The SWS was introduced in December 2022. It outlines a self-reflective process to understanding your workplace and its influences on the quality of the physical therapy services you provide to your clients. It will equip you to find ways to co-create a supportive workplace that promotes improved client care and service delivery. You’ll receive an email that contains an access link when it opens each year in October.
You are asked some questions about your workplace (each year, the questions will be different, touching on different aspects of workplace quality). Based on your answers, you’ll receive a report that includes recommended actions and resources to review.
There is no pass or fail, and the College doesn’t receive your personal responses (we only see overall data from all registrants).
We know these resources will help you provide the best care you can, and the College uses the overall data to decide what new resources we should develop to assist registrants.
Now that you are registered to practice, it’s your responsibility to actively pursue learning opportunities to maintain and improve your competence in existing and emerging areas of your physical therapy practice. There are many opportunities to gain knowledge to help your practice, such as courses or lectures, participating in peer discussion groups, reading physical therapy-related journals, supervising a physical therapy student, and learning to recognize and dismantle racism in healthcare. Applying knowledge from all these learning opportunities to your practice is important.
We are currently building the professional development component of our Quality Practice Framework. Read our e-newsletters to stay informed as this component develops.
All registered PTs are required to maintain professional liability insurance and provide confirmation of insurance at annual renewal and when requested by the College. You can update your liability insurance at any time in the Registrant Portal.
Even if your employer has insurance coverage that protects you, the College requires you to hold your own private, individual professional liability insurance.
To register with the College, you must be insured for at least $3 million per incident.
Insurance Across Multiple Practice Environments
If you work in multiple practice environments (for example, at more than one clinic, or a clinic and a hospital), don’t assume your insurance at one location covers you for the others. You may have to arrange coverage for other locations separately or jointly. Check with your insurance provider.
Duty to Report
Under the Health Professions Act (HPA), regulated health professionals (like physical therapists) and those who work with or employ them have legal and ethical obligations to make reports to the College and other colleges and agencies if the continued practice of any other regulated health professional might constitute a danger to the public.
Some examples of things you need to report if you suspect them are sexual misconduct (with client consent), incapacity and incompetence, charges and bail restrictions, acts of racism and discrimination, unauthorized use of protected title, and privacy breaches. Remember, the law says you must report, and not doing so could impact your career. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
BC physical therapists are legally required to self-report to the College if they have been charged or convicted of a “relevant or specific” offence in any jurisdiction (anywhere in Canada or elsewhere).
These offences include (but are not limited to):
- Sexual offences
- Violent offences
- Drug trafficking offences
- Breach of trust
Notify the College as soon as possible if you are in this situation. It’s the law.
Each year you will be asked to confirm during registration renewal that you have not been charged or convicted of an offence since the previous year.
Once every five years, you will be asked to complete a Criminal Record Check.
What is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is a privilege given to professions that have shown they can put the interests of the public first. While we set some rules that physical therapists must follow, provincial legislation lays out the other rules, and we are ultimately accountable to the government.
For example, the Health Professions Act (HPA) gives the College its mandate to regulate the practice of physical therapists in BC, while the Physical Therapists Regulation (2008) provides the framework for things like scope of practice and restricted activities. Everything that the College does must support the provincial legislation.
A Little More About Us
The College of Physical Therapists of BC is one of 30 health regulatory organizations established by the provincial government to ensure the public receives safe, competent and ethical care. Our sole purpose is to protect the public by overseeing the practice of physical therapists.
We protect the public by:
- Setting the requirements for entry into the profession.
- Establishing standards of practice that PTs must follow.
- Monitoring practice and promoting continuing competency.
- Investigating complaints and concerns about PTs from clients, caregivers or other members of the public.
- Protecting the integrity of the profession.
How Are We Different from PABC?
The College is responsible for protecting the public. If you wish to practice physical therapy in BC, you must be registered with the College.
The Physiotherapy Association of BC (part of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association) is a member-based association focusing on professional interest or advocacy.
We work together, but our roles are different.
College Board of Directors
The College is governed by a board of directors which is made up of:
- PTs elected by members of the College (like you!)
- Public members appointed by the provincial government
- Student representatives from UBC’s physical therapy program
Our staff fulfill the College’s day-to-day duties under the Registrar’s leadership. An election is held each spring to elect the registrant board members as outlined in the College Bylaws.
A key responsibility of the College is to consider concerns and complaints about physical therapists and their practice.
Clients, caregivers, other PTs, employers and any members of the public can submit complaints. In protecting the public interest, the College must seriously consider each complaint while ensuring an equitable process.
Questions about investigations and complaints? Feel free to contact email@example.com.
Interested in Getting Involved?
The work of the College is possible because of the dedication of our registrants. In the future, you may be interested in joining the Board or serving on a committee. We also regularly hold consultations when developing new standards and policies. Physical therapists, members of the public, and other stakeholders are invited to share their feedback. Watch for these opportunities on our website, in the CPTBC Connects e-newsletter, and via emails sent directly to you from the College.
Contact CPTBC’s Professional Practice Advisors
We know this New Registrants Guide provides a lot of information, so feel free to ask questions!
The College has Professional Practice Advisors and experienced physical therapists available to answer your questions by phone and email throughout your career. Whether you have questions about the standards or need advice on handling a difficult clinical or workplace situation, a Professional Practice Advisor can review the relevant regulation, discuss how it applies in practice, and share helpful resources as needed.
Email the Professional Practice Advisor team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-833-742-8830.
Important information will be shared by email, so please ensure your information is current, and you read everything from the College.
Please don’t unsubscribe; email is the only way we communicate directly with members.
Always read your College email!
CPTBC Connects E-Newsletter
Every two months we send out our e-newsletter, CPTBC Connects, which contains updates to standards and College programs, reminders for important deadlines, helpful resources, and more. Be sure to give it a read!
Keep in Touch!
College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia
#900 – 200 Granville Street
Canada V6C 1S4
General Inquiries: (604) 742-6556 or 1 (833) 742-6556
Fax: (604) 357-1862 | email@example.com
New Application & Registration Questions
Practice Advice Questions
Quality Practice Program Questions
Health Corporation Questions
Self Report Questions
Duty to Report Questions
To report a PT (Duty to Report), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.