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Balance Volume 2005 Issue 03 -
College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners & Acupuncturists of British Columbia

Message from the Chairman – Mason Loh, Q.C.

TCM Regulation Is a Long Road - Reflections on the Announcement of Intention to Regulate TCM In Ontario

The government of Ontario just released last week a report recommending to their Minister of Health the regulation of acupuncture and TCM. It is the latest step in a process which started about 10 years ago. Our province actually started our regulatory College during that time.

I have been the Chair of our College for eight years. They have been memorable years. Many do not understand why I have volunteered so much of my time and energy to help set up our College. After all, I am a lawyer and not a TCM practitioner. Some have even attacked and tried to defame me. Notwithstanding, I have persisted in my effort to help to establish the profession because I have the unshakable belief that TCM is a treasure of our humanity dating back 5,000 years. If it can be properly regulated to ensure the professionalism and ethical standards of its practitioners, it will be supported by the governments, accepted by the public, serve all members of our communities by preventing and treating illnesses, leading to national and international recognition of TCM and perhaps even saving our universal public health care system.

Why do I have this vision? I was raised in a traditional Chinese family with a respect for TCM as a part of my hereditary culture. Thirteen years ago, I was afflicted with a serious case of psoriatic arthritis which practically rendered me incapable of functioning in my daily life without pain killers. The physicians told me there was no cure. But through a combination of qigong, acupuncture and TCM, I was amazingly cured in just six months. From that time on, I looked for an opportunity to pay back. So when the government asked me to help re-establish the College which was on the brink of collapse in 1997, I accepted the challenge without remuneration nor hesitation. I wanted to help establish the profession so more people could benefit from it like I did.

We have accomplished much over the past eight years:

  • We fought for and obtained the practicing title of Doctor of TCM (the only jurisdiction outside of Asia);
  • We established a professional regulatory body;
  • We licensed the first batch of registered acupuncturists in B. C.;
  • We licensed the first batch of TCM practitioners in North America;
  • We established the first formal examination and licensing system for TCM practitioners in North America;
  • We established a review system for TCM schools and promoted a standard for TCM education, etc.;
  • This year, we licensed the first batch of Dr. of TCM through the first examination in North America;

      I went to Toronto in April this year at the invitation of the Ontario government to consult on their plan. Please see reproduced in this newsletter a thank you letter from the Ontario Minister of Health for my contribution to their initiative (see p.3). We might not have done everything right in our effort in our province. But I sincerely wish that by sharing our experience, Ontario’s road to regulation will be smoother. When the largest province in our country joins us in regulating TCM, we will be much closer to the vision of national and international recognition of TCM. Our road is long. But it is full of hope.