Standards of Practice

The standards refer to the expected level of physiotherapist's performance, for qualifications to practice, clinical care, and professional practice that results in safe, ethical and effective physiotherapy service. The application of standards will vary depending upon the context of an individual's physiotherapy practice.

Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics for Alberta physiotherapists embodies professional ethical values intended to guide physiotherapists in their interactions with clients, other health practitioners or service providers and the public. The Code complements universally accepted bio-ethical principles, laws and standards of practice for Alberta physiotherapists that form the basis for accountable practice.

Restricted Activities

A restricted activity is a regulated health service that by law can only be performed by individuals who are authorized to perform them. Restricted activities authorized to physiotherapists are divided into those which require additional authorization from Physiotherapy Alberta, and those that do not.

Activities authorized to all physiotherapists:

All physiotherapists may, in the practice of physiotherapy and within the Standards of Practice, perform the following restricted activities provided they are competent to do so and it is appropriate to their area of practice.

  • Inserting and removing catheters.
  • Reducing a dislocation of a joint.
  • Suctioning or instillation.
  • Wound debridement and care.

Activities requiring additional authorization:

Only physiotherapists with individual authorization from Physiotherapy Alberta may perform the following activities independently. Authorization is noted on a member’s practice permit and can be verified online.

  • Order diagnostic imaging (limited to x-rays, MRI, and diagnostic ultrasound).
  • Perform pelvic health internal examinations (for the treatment of urological, gynaecological, or rectal conditions)
  • Perform spinal manipulation.
  • Use needles in practice.

Physiotherapists learning an activity requiring additional authorization (and prior to authorization) may perform that activity provided they are appropriately supervised:

  • Supervising physiotherapist is present in the treatment cubicle or room.
  • Supervising physiotherapist is able to observe and promptly intervene (i.e., stop or change actions) if required.

Although physiotherapist interns on the Provisional Register may become authorized to perform pelvic health internal examinations, their authorization includes the condition that their practice be directly supervised at all times, both pre- and post-authorization.