Where to Find Kinesiologists?

updated: 2019-04-02

Disclosure: Currently the practice of kinesiology varies from one province to another. The information in this document may differ and not correspond with the provincial legislation. The main purpose of this document is to present the current portrait of kinesiology (definitions, fields of practice, acts, etc.) across Canada, with information regarding resources in the various fields of kinesiology, practical tools, the extent of its scope of practice and other potentially useful documents. This document is in perpetual revision as per the evolution of the practice of kinesiology in Canada. The CKA / ACK will not be held responsible for any consequences or damages that may occur as a result of the use, misuse, misinterpretation or abuse of the information found on its website. We emphasize that the aim of this document is to help guide you. Should anyone require guidance in interpreting any of the provided information, they should seek the advice of their provincial kinesiology association

In Canada, the title of Kinesiologist is not a protected title for the purposes of the law in all Canadian provinces except Ontario. In Ontario, the profession is regulated by legislation requiring an exclusive title of Registered Kinesiologist.

In the other provinces, we find many other titles such as certified, practicing, professional, accredited or affiliated kinesiologist. All these titles are accepted by the Provincial Kinesiology Associations, and the CKA, and are granted when one meets all the requirements to practice. When recognized by PKAs and the CKA, one benefits from membership advantages such as the privilege of issuing receipts to customers so that they can claim reimbursement from insurance companies. Insurance companies verify the status of Kinesiologists with their PKAs and the CKA, before authorizing the refund.

Currently in Canada, kinesiologists can hold a variety of job titles. The CKA is working to reduce the number of titles in order to prevent confusion among the public, health professionals and insurance companies. The variety of titles is a result of differences in provincial laws. PKAs, and the CKA, prefer the use of a single title: kinesiologist.

Here are some examples of job titles:

  • Kinesiologist
  • Kinesiologist registered, affiliated or accredited
  • Clinical Kinesiologist
  • Kinesiologist / teacher
  • Kinesiologist / physical trainer
  • Kinesiologist / Health Promotion, Community Health
  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Exercise Physiologist (certified/clinical)
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Manual therapist (not recognized by some provincial associations)
  • Exercise Specialist in Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Ergonomist or ergonomic designer in the workplace (may be a specialty in some provinces)
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Researcher in the science of physical activity

A Kinesiologist may have an area of special interest to them, and works with a variety of clients and in a variety of environments, see the following diagram:

In the above diagram, for each of these environments, Kinesiologists can offer a wide variety of services within their scope of practice. For example :

  • In a health facility, you will find Kinesiologists providing rehabilitation services for: cardiac conditions, neurological disease, spinal cord injury, hemodialysis, encephalopathies (stroke, CBT, concussion, tumor), oncology, metabolic diseases, pulmonary diseases, mental health, etc.
  • In the workplace, you will find them performing pre-hiring tests, ergonomics (specialization in some provinces), return to work programs, wellness programs, etc.

 

THE DIFFERENT TITLES:

 

Kinesiologists:

The title of a Kinesiologist may differ from province-to-province. The use of the title “Kinesiologist” with a qualifier exists because PKAs are bound by their Bylaws or Provincial Laws. The CKA encourages us to use the term “Kinesiologist” (without any qualifiers) where possible. In Canada, Ontario is the only province that legally requires the use of the title “Registered Kinesiologist”.

In addition, there are several professional labels that may sound similar to a Kinesiologist but do not mean the same thing. The titles are becoming more numerous. As a profession, we must be vigilant with regards to the quality of the education, and training, received and the nature of the services provided.

Some similar titles include:

Exercise Physiologist:

Although in some Canadian provinces there may be differences in education and in the distinction of terminology, for the CKA, physiology is one of the fields that are integrated into kinesiology. However, it can be the subject of a specialization in the field of kinesiology in the same way as biomechanics, motor skills, anatomy, etc. One may say that Exercise Physiologists are specialized Kinesiologists that do not perform the entire scope of practice.

Athletic Therapist:

In Canada, a Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT (C)) is a healthcare professional who specializes in emergency care and in the prevention, identification, intervention and management of injuries or musculoskeletal conditions, particularly in athletes. This includes acute or chronic musculoskeletal conditions of varying origin. One may say that Athletic Therapists are specialized Kinesiologists that do not perform the entire scope of practice.

Kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist:

A Kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist is not recognized by CKA due to the wide gap in the profession’s standards of practice. The definition of kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist is as follows [1]:

"Kinesiology-kinesiotherapy is part of a therapeutic treatment framework based on a principle of muscle rebalance with the active participation of the subject in their treatment.

After a personalized clinical observation including visual exams, palpation and mobilization, the kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist will practice

  • Therapeutic massage care with active participation of the subject
  • Gentle mobilization maneuvers respecting physiological amplitudes
  • Exercises education to achieve musculoskeletal balance for better posture
  • Personalized exercise program to avoid relapses
  • Therapeutic follow-up to counter the recurrence of musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Participate in a multidisciplinary follow-up in association with other members of the healthcare field to ensure optimal patient care”

The term kinesiotherapist is the name for a physiotherapist in France and the practice is similar.

Applied kinesiology :

We must not confuse kinesiology with Applied kinesiology, which are two similar titles, but whose methods of practice are very different. Our profession is based on recognized scientific data while Applied kinesiology has an esoteric base focused on balancing energy pathways.

 

[1] The website for the association of kinesiologists, physiotherapists, orthotherapists and massage therapists of Quebec (AKKOMQ),