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Details on the education and examination requirements for osteopathic doctors and reasons why osteopathic medicine can play a vital role in the healthcare system.


The Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOE)  is the nation's oldest and largest Canadien Association of Osteopathic Physicians. Founded in 1991, CCOE is anonprofit, scientific, educational, organization, certification board, dedicated to exploring new frontiers of mind, body, medicine and health. CCOE has a nondiscriminatory policy, with certification open to individuals with a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). All of our members have a strong commitment to the philosophy, art and science, of natural therapeutics. They subscribe to the motto "Doctor do no harm".


Interest in alternative medicine has grown significantly over the last decade, creating a demand for alternative practitioners. Three elements must be present to ensure that these healthcare professionals do not pose a threat to public health:

  • Practitioners must be educated at medical colleges that have been accredited by  an agency recognized by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC).;


  • Practitioners must be examined by a national examining board that sets high standards for eligibility and provides standardized test administration; board examinations must be developed in accordance with national testing standards; and

  • Practitioners must be licensed, required to take continuing education, and subject to peer review.


One osteopathic medical college in Canada is currently accredited by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC).. The CCOE is the only osteopathic accrediting body recognized by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC).

About this site


To the left Dr Peter Veniez, Ph.D., ND., CEO., of the CPMDQ, and Chairman of the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) in the middle Dr Sylvain Guimond, DO., to the right Dr Jean Lemoine, DO., MD.,  Director of academics in 2002 of COQM and COQQ. 


The first student to graduate with the doctorate of Osteopathy (D.O.) in Canada is Dr. Sylvain Guimond, D.O.. Presentation of its thesis took place in front of the committee and an international jury in May 2002. Dr. Guimond, D.O., already had his university degree in kinesiology, and has an expertise in biomechanics in sports medicine, he is founder of Bio-Tonix (Montreal), therapist and osteopath of Mario Lemieux.


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The education of Osteopathic Doctors (DOs) follows a path similar to that of medical doctors (MDs). Applicants enter osteopathic medical school after receiving a baccalaureate degree (usually pre-med) from a four-year college. Students complete two years of post-graduate basic science coursework then have two to three years of didactic and clinical training, including time spent in supervised patient care.


The Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOE) uses the CCOEX to examine all osteopathic physicians who want to be licensed in provinces that license DOs. The Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOEX) are criterion-referenced examinations. Five Part I - Basic Science Examinations cover anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, and pathology. The Part I Examinations are taken after the second year of training. Eleven Part II - Clinical Science Examinations cover diagnosis using physical examination and lab testing, emergency and medical procedures, as well as osteopathic treatment modalities (botanical medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, osteopathic physical medicine, counseling & health psychology). The CCOEX examinations are developed according to all the guidelines set forth in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.


After graduation from the accredited osteopathic medical college and passage of Part II - Clinical Science Examinations, candidates apply to one of the jurisdictions that have laws that enable licensed osteopathic physicians to serve their communities as providers of primary care medicine in Canada. Licensed D.O.s are required to obtain continuing education and are subject to peer review.


Osteopathic medicine can play a vital, cost-effective role in the healthcare system:

  • Osteopathic physicians are primary care providers who treat patients for a variety of conditions, using therapies that are non-invasive, safe, and effective. More patients are demanding these kinds of treatment options, and the cost of osteopathic care is minimal when compared to the skyrocketing costs of drugs.
  • Because osteopathic medicine places significant emphasis on prevention (not merely on screening for pre-existing conditions), it can help stem the increasing incidence of chronic disease. For a small expenditure now, significant costs can be prevented later.
  • Osteopathic medicine provides vital adjunctive care when a patient is being treated by a medical doctor for a serious condition. For example, naturopathic medicine can help allay the severe side effects of chemotherapy and can provide support for better healing. A study done recently showed that this valuable care accounts for only 2% of the cost of cancer treatment.
  • DOs can meet the growing shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas. Efforts are under way to allow osteopathic doctors to be granted the same kinds of loan repayment options to encourage participation in rural, veteran’s, and Indian health programs that are available for MDs, DCs, and other eligible providers.
  • A patient who is rushed through appointments and feels that her/his doctor does not listen is more likely to file a lawsuit in the case of a mistake than is a patient who feels a respectful partnership with her/his physician. DO’s spend a great deal of time listening to their patients, attending to their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs as well as to their physical symptoms. Cases of malpractice are extremely rare in the osteopathic profession.

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Alternative Medecine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)

Canadian College of Ostéopathic Medicine (CCOM)

Conseil des Examinateurs en Ostéopathie du Québec (CEOQ)

Collège D'Osteopathie du Québec a Montreal (COQM)

Syndicat Professionnel des Osteopathes du Quebec


During the first 2 ½ - 3 years of medical school, the education of osteopathic doctors (DOs) follows a path similar to that of medical doctors (MDs). Students in both allopathic and osteopathic medical colleges receive extensive training in the biomedical sciences, and in physical, clinical, and lab diagnosis. Both receive training in emergency procedures, public health, and principles of pharmacology. The osteopathic colleges use standard medical texts for this phase of the training. The paths of osteopathic medical education and allopathic medical education diverge after this point. MDs learn how to prescribe drugs and perform or refer for surgery. DO’s learn how to use herbs, clinical nutrition, physical osteopathic medicine (e.g., hydrotherapy, soft tissue massage, osseous manipulation, etc.), homeopathy, and mind-body medicine.


Four keys differences distinguish the osteopathic approach from the approach used by allopathic doctors (MDs):



  • Emphasis on prevention
  • Search for and treatment of the cause of illness (as compared to an approach that treats the symptoms of the illness)
  • Individualized treatment (e.g. two patients being treated for the same pathology may have completely different treatment protocols)
  • A goal of removing obstacles to the bodys own innate healing processes (as compared to the idea that “cure” must come from external sources)




Osteopathic Doctor: Initial License Requirements


  • Submit a osteopathic license application & pay the required license fee;
  • Possess a good moral and professional reputation;
  • Be physically and mentally fit to practice osteopathic medicine;
  • Graduate from a osteopathic medical college that is accredited by the Council or another such accrediting agency recognized by the federal government; or graduate from a foreign country osteopathic medical college that possesses equivalent qualifications; and
  • Successfully complete the Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOE) examinations.



The Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)'s mission is to ensure the high quality of alternative medicine education in Canada through the voluntary accreditation of four-year, graduate-level programs in alternative medicine. Students and graduates of programs accredited or pre-accredited (candidacy) by AMECC are eligible to apply for the osteopathic licensing examinations administered by the Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOE).


Founded in 1991, CCOE is accepted as the programmatic accrediting agency for osteopathic medical education by the osteopathic college and programs in Canada, by the Canadian National Osteopathic Professional Syndicates CNOPS, and by AMECC. CCNE advocates for high standards in osteopathic education, and its grant of accreditation to a college or program indicates prospective students and the public may have confidence in the college or program. The CCOE is the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree.


An accreditation handbook, containing CCOE standards, policies, procedures, and governing documents, is available for $20, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail upon request. The PDF file may be opened and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.


CCOE also certifies postdoctoral programs in osteopathic medicine. Among these programs are osteopathic residencies that provide licensed osteopathic physicians with postgraduate training in Osteopathic family care and other specialties. A manual containing CCOE's standards for residency programs may be ordered for $15, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail.


CCOE is a member of the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) and abides by the CPMDQ Code of Good Practice.


The accredited and candidate of Osteopathic medicine programs, as well as the certified residency programs, are listed on the links page. After accessing the links page, click the name of the program or its logo to go to the Website for the college or university that offers the program.


For frequently asked questions, click "FAQs" on the menu.


Portail des Médecines Douces du Québec


CCOEs next meeting will be held April 8 & 9, 2006, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.