The absence of regulations for naturopathy is putting the health of Islanders at risk, says the P.E.I. Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and a Maritime-wide solution may be required.
Anyone on P.E.I can call themselves a naturopathic doctor, and practitioners with national certification like Kali Simmons in Charlottetown say not having any regulation is a serious problem.
"There's individuals recommending people have their teeth removed, without medical training — they're not dentists — performing invasive procedures like colonic irrigation in unsanitary places," Simmons told CBC News Tuesday.
Simmons and Lana McMurrer are two of five naturopathic doctors. That small number is at the root of the problem. Last year the provincial group began the necessary paperwork to start the process of regulation, but it was told by the Department of Health that the number of naturopaths is too small to have the necessary board to regulate the doctors.
Nova Scotia looking to regulate
McMurrer believes the solution is to create a joint Maritime regulatory board.
"We've been in touch with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and it makes a lot of sense," she said.
"It would be the best thing for all of us."
Nova Scotia's association, with 22 members, expects to become regulated in the next three years. Once that happens, it says it would consider creating a Maritime board. The New Brunswick association, with 11 members, says it will likely need the support of the other provinces to move ahead.
Simmons and McMurrer said they will continue to lobby all Maritime provinces until a solution is reached.