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July 2020

Can Bull Med Hist. 1995 ; 12(1): 69-99.

Physiotherapy's quest for professional status in Ontario, 1950-80.

Heap R.

Deartment of History, University of Ottawa, Ontario.

Physiotherapy is part of the new female-dominated paramedical occupations which have witnessed considerable growth in Canada since World War II. This article examines the main dimensions of physiotherapy's professionalizing drive in Ontario between 1950 and 1980. It discusses the leadership's continuing efforts to make physiotherapy a self-regulated profession, efforts which will be seriously challenged by the provincial government's growing intervention in the health sector in the 1970s. It also examines physiotherapy's involvement in boundary disputes with the medical profession and chiropractic. Finally, the article explores the influence of gender on physiotherapy's professionalizing efforts, providing insights on the means women health practitioners have used to gain professional status and on the limits and constraints that their gender may have posed to the achievement of their goal.

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