Patient Relations Program

The Patient Relations Program of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario exists to enhance and promote the therapeutic relationship between physiotherapists/physical therapists and patients by providing education and resources to assist both groups.

The Patient Relations Committee also ensures that resources, advice, training and supports are available to prevent the sexual abuse of patients.

Patients benefit from understanding what happens when they are assessed and treated by a physiotherapist, what are reasonable expectations when seeing a physiotherapist and what to do if they feel that they have not received the care they expected or have been sexually abused.

What do Physiotherapists Do?

Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent physical problems, injuries and pain, to restore movement, function and health status. When you see a physiotherapist you can expect that he/she will do the following:

  • Carry out an assessment of your condition
  • Review and discuss the assessment findings with you
  • Develop a plan for your treatment that will meet your needs and goals
  • Obtain your consent for the treatment
  • Regularly measure your progress and make adjustments to the treatment as needed
  • Provide advice and education regarding your condition
  • Keep a record of the care provided
  • Collaborate with others as appropriate

Physiotherapy assessment and treatment is often hands-on and usually involves touching. Some of the techniques that a physiotherapist might use include: manual therapy (treatment using the physiotherapist’s hands), exercise instruction, education and/or electro-physical modalities (e.g. heat, ice, ultrasound, laser, acupuncture etc).

To assess and treat you, the physiotherapist will likely want to look at how your body moves. You may be asked to remove some of your clothing to allow the physiotherapist to see your muscles, joints, posture, movement etc. The physiotherapist will allow you privacy to change your clothes and provide you with a way to cover yourself if necessary. The physiotherapist may also need to feel how your muscles and body parts move. The use of touch is central to the practice of physiotherapy.

Additional Information: 

Information on Physiotherapists’ Practice

Code of Ethics 
Essential Competency Profile
Standard for Professional Practice: Therapeutic Relationships and Professional Boundaries 
Standard for Professional Practice: Managing Challenging Interpersonal Situations When Providing Patient Care

Resources for Patients

Understanding Sexual Abuse
The College's Role When a Patient Has Been Sexually Abused
Funding for Therapy & Counselling
Understanding the Complaints Process
Partnership of Care Materials

Request a Speaker

College speakers visit many groups to discuss ethical and professional issues. Request a speaker.

For more information about the College’s Patient Relations Program, please contact us at or tel. 416-591-3828 or toll-free 1-800-583-5885