New provincial legislation expected to increase demand for kinesiologists

A law enacted by the Province of Ontario last summer establishes kinesiologists as regulated health care professionals. As a result, York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Canada’s largest, will play a vital role in training professionals in one of the newest regulated health professions, said Ira Jacobs, Chair of the school in the Faculty of Health.

The new Kinesiology Act, which received final assent on June 4, 2007, and was consolidated in status and regulations on Feb. 22, will open many new professional and career opportunities for graduates with an honours kinesiology degree, said Jacobs. By constituting kinesiologists as regulated health professionals, explained Jacobs, the new legislation places graduates in a group with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, optometrists, dietitians and others.

Right: Ira Jacobs

“The Kinesiology Act establishes and regulates a new health profession in Ontario that will depend on universities to provide the necessary academic preparation for Ontario’s future registered kinesiologists,” said Jacobs.

The School of Kinesiology & Health Science at York University is the largest such academic program in Canada and one of the largest in North America. It is one of four departments in York’s Faculty of Health and one of the larger departments on campus, with about 2,900 undergraduate students and 140 graduate students.

“The school has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, doubling in size, due in part to increasing public awareness of the central role of physical activity for human health and quality of life,” said Jacobs. “The growth has occurred in the absence of kinesiology being a recognized and regulated health profession. The demand for positions will likely spike as future students become aware of kinesiology’s new regulated health profession status.”

Jacobs said the school will closely monitor the Ontario Ministry of Health, which is establishing the educational requirements to become a registered kinesiologist as well as the legal scope of practise for kinesiologists.