Centre for Inquiry

Centre for Inquiry
Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS)

Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS)

November 23, 2011 18:09 ET

Ontario Physicians Duty Bound to Keep Quiet About CAM

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2011) - This month, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) posted a revision of their draft policy on "Non-Allopathic (Non-Conventional) Therapies in Medical Practice," a policy meant to guide doctors on their use or promotion of alternative medicine. The Centre for Inquiry (CFI) Canada is pleased with the changes to the document but warns that it still fails to protect the freedom of Ontario physicians to communicate the dangers of untested or unproven alternative medical therapies and protect Ontarians from potential harm.

The lobbying efforts of the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) at CFI Canada has resulted in a change from the contentious label of "Non-allopathic Medicine" to "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" (CAM), as well as a greater emphasis in the policy on scientific evidence as a basis for the use of a specific medical treatment. Unfortunately, the document still advises Ontario physicians to refrain from "…expressing personal non-clinical judgements" about CAM, especially about a therapy they are unfamiliar with, even if it is medically absurd like homeopathy.

"While we are happy with the changes," said Iain Martel, co-chair of CASS and a co-author of CFI Canada's response, "we feel the muzzling of physicians in this way devalues the years of scientific education they have, and puts Ontarians at risk of missing an important opportunity to discuss potentially harmful CAM therapies with their doctor."

The council of the CPSO meets on November 29th 2011 to approve the new draft policy and CFI Canada hopes that this criticism of the document will spur the council to make the changes to the policy in order to protect Ontarians from dubious medicine.

Agenda for the CPSO council meeting: http://www.cpso.on.ca/aboutus/council/default.aspx?id=1414

About the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) and the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI): CASS is a national team that critically engages with scientific, technological and medical claims made in public discourse. We address factual inaccuracies and misinformation in public debates by promoting evidence-based science. CASS is a subset of CFI. CFI is the leading freethought organization in Canada promoting reason, science, secularism and freedom of inquiry.

Contact Information

  • Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism
    Michael Kruse
    Co-Chair and Spokesperson
    (416) 737-4960
    cass@cficanada.ca