Enhancing the scope of chiropractic care is better for patients and better for Ontarians. 

By giving patients the ability to obtain referrals for lab/diagnostic imaging tests from their chiropractor, the Ontario government can remove red tape for patients, reduce delays in treatment and save Ontarians between $15 and $23 million a year in needless doctor visits.¹ 

Animated video that explains why Ontarians need ‘Red Tape Relief’ and was used for our 2019 to early 2020 Red Tape Relief campaign.

The Challenge:

We’re putting patients through needless red tape!

  • If your chiropractor requires a laboratory or imaging test to rule out health conditions, he cannot do it, although he is trained to do so.
  • You must first visit your doctor to get a referral for tests your chiropractor needs to treat you. In Ontario, this means 450,000 to 750,000 doctor visits are made just to obtain a referral for an essential test. And that costs Ontarians between $15.1 to $23.7 million a year.
  • You must then wait for the test results to be sent back to your chiropractor; leading to delays in your care, unnecessary doctor visits and longer physician wait times.
  • This ‘red tape’ patients must endure is avoidable.

Building on Research and Results

  • Nearly 2.7 million patients in Ontario rely on chiropractic care every year.
  • Chiropractors only order essential tests that their patients need.
  • In one Ontario program, where chiropractors assess patients prior to a surgical consult, there has been a 95 per cent reduction in surgical consults and diagnostic imaging orders and 98 per cent patient satisfaction.

How Scope Enhancement Works

By giving patients the ability to obtain a referral for a test from their chiropractor, the Ontario government can remove red tape for patients, reduce delays in treatment and save Ontarians between $15 and $23 million a year in needless doctor visits.

If scope is enhanced to give patients access to laboratory and diagnostic imaging tests required by their chiropractor, it will help them  by:

  • Ending the delay in care while patients book an appointment with their doctor to obtain a referral to a lab test their chiropractor needs to make a full diagnosis.
  • Eliminating $15.1- 23.7 million dollars in OHIP billing as a result of eliminating avoidable visits to doctors.
  • Ending the delays chiropractic patients who need imaging or laboratory tests currently experience
  • Improving access to X-rays for patients in 64 communities without independent health facilities – largely in rural and remote areas; equitable access is the right of all Ontarians.
  • Reducing wait times for family doctors by eliminating avoidable visits just to receive a referral for a test.

Authority to order lab tests and diagnostic ultrasound can be implemented at no cost to the Ministry of Health if they are paid for privately, as chiropractic care is largely funded now.

Patients have waited for more than ten years, while chiropractors, have asked, on behalf of their patients, for the right to order tests that they are trained to use.

How Scope Enhancement Helps Ontarians

Ontarians can visit a chiropractor without a doctor referral. But they need their doctor to write a referral, if their chiropractor thinks the test is essential in making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan.

Chiropractors’ Impact

Chiropractors in Ontario support their patients’ rights to a full diagnosis and treatment without delay caused by needless red tape.

  • RACs for LBP employ more than 50 chiropractors who work as Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) – the first and primary point of contact for consulting with referred patients.
  • Chiropractors hold seven out of fourteen RAC for LBP Practice Lead positions to support patients that APPs have identified as requiring more advanced surgical assessment and management.
  • A panel of RAC for LBP practitioners, including surgeons, physicians and other providers from hospitals, selects chiropractors for the program. Each selected chiropractor collaborates with these other health care professionals to develop management plans for their shared patients.

Future Plans

Following our Red Tape Relief campaign that ran from 2019 into early 2020, we continue to advocate for scope enhancement to help patients, other Ontarians and the province through various initiatives.


[1] College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO), Independent survey.