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How to dissociate CKA & Kinesiology from CSEP & Exercise Physiology?

The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance (CKA) and the Provincial Kinesiology Associations (PKAs) understand how confusing it may be to try to dissociate the difference between many organizations and their services, such as the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and any other certifications. This document attempts to clarify them as for their status, their scope of practice and their services i.e. insurance, continuing education seminars, etc.

Here are brief answers to frequent questions:

  1. Are the CKA and CSEP doing the same in terms of organizations?
  2. Do I have to maintain my certification with CSEP? Do I have to pay double contribution: membership fees, insurance fees, etc.?
  3. What is the difference in scope of practice? Why does CSEP not cover the entire scope of Kinesiology?
  4. What is the difference in Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)? Does CKA/PKA insurance fully cover me?
  5. Will my professional judgment as a CEP be lost if I do not renew my certification?
  6. What are the benefits to becoming member of PKA/CKA? What other services give me the CKA/PKA?


Without prejudice
 Currently the practice of kinesiology varies from one province to another. The information in this document may differ and not correspond with the provincial legislation. The main purpose of this document is to present the current portrait of kinesiology (definitions, fields of practice, acts, etc.) across Canada, with information regarding resources in the various fields of kinesiology, practical tools, the extent of its scope of practice and other potentially useful documents. This document is in perpetual revision as per the evolution of the practice of kinesiology in Canada. The CKA / ACK will not be held responsible for any consequences or damages that may occur as a result of the use, misuse, misinterpretation or abuse of the information found on its website. We emphasize that the aim of this document is to help guide you. Should anyone require guidance in interpreting any of the provided information, they should seek the advice of their provincial kinesiology association

  1. Are the CKA and CSEP doing the same in terms of organizations?

The CKA is a non-profit corporation that advocates and promotes the advancement of the profession of kinesiology in Canada. Kinesiologists provide services to improve human movement and deliver quality solutions through prevention, objective assessment, and evidence-based interventions.

On a national level, the CKA represents ten (10) provincial kinesiology associations (PKAs) that are member associations and over 4,200 affiliated Kinesiologists by developing progressive partnerships with other national organizations, providing support to effect positive change within government and public policy, and by promoting the science of Kinesiology. The CKA advances our member associations, PKAs, by facilitating national and interprovincial communication and partnerships and by supporting and encouraging ongoing development of PKAs. The CKA establish and promote the standards of the profession across Canada. (Differrent in provinces that are governed by government regulation).

The CKA, through its mission to be the voice of Kinesiologists, has successfully played a key role in increasing awareness of the kinesiology profession across Canada to the point of becoming the reference for Law makers, and other health professionals for referrals, etc.

Kinesiology is a profession while CEP is a certification. Kinesiologists are health professionals recognized by the Laws thus governance is based on the legislation: active legislation in Ontario while other provinces are in the process of becoming legislated. CSEP is a self-governed organization that certifies Exercise Physiologists (EPs). The CKA cannot merge with CSEP as the fundamental purposes are different: one is for a profession, the other for a certification.

The CKA is focused on advancing the profession of kinesiology. CSEP refers to exercise physiology which is one of many field of study and practice of kinesiology and thus are not focused on the aspirations of Kinesiologists but only that field. Kinesiology is the study of the dynamics of human movement, including all the components involved (anatomical, physiological, neurological, biochemical, biomechanical, neuromotor, psychological), as we interact with our environment. Kinesiology is also defined as human kinetics or the scientific study of how we move. Kinesiologists provide services to improve human movement and deliver quality solutions through prevention, objective assessment, and evidence-based interventions.

Kinesiology undergraduate degrees is a general minimal requirement and in some cases advanced exercise physiology education is a specific requirement. One cannot deny there is enhanced qualification with respect to exercise physiology when Kins keep their certification in good standing. This applies to many other areas of study as well. 

We prefer to refer to exercise physiology as a specific field of study and practice of kinesiology and not as a specialisation because, in regulated provinces, consideration of specializations has been rejected. For exemple, the College of Kinesiology of Ontario (CKO), to our knowledge, does not recognize any specializations at this time due to the fact that kinesiology has a diverse scope of practice by nature. 

As you know, kinesiology is legislated in some provinces and in others, the process has begun. In this process, it (the Law-makers) was/is highlighted that the CKA/PKAs must no longer maintain close ties with an organization such as the CSEP which also certify candidates who have no training in kinesiology yet are performing acts of kinesiology. They can form partnership to raise awareness of kinesiology but without governance ties.

In addition, as with other health care providers, clinical judgment is essential to the exercise of our profession. It is in particular on this notion that the law-makers will assess Kinesiologists’ skills. Knowing that the judgment is ultimately related to the assessment of physical condition, it is imperative that this notion is supervised by universities, with recommendations from CKA/PKAs, rather than by certification issued via a body like that of CSEP. 

In addition, the orientations of CSEP are similar with those of the CKA/PKA, in particular with regard to, to name a few: the obligation of members to follow a number of continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification; to offer of professional insurance, the aspects of which are already covered by the insurance offered by the CKA/PKAs, to promote of a certification allowing the practice of professional acts in kinesiology by students, without the supervision of a Kinesiologist.

You will understand that the CKA/PKAs must be irreproachable in the eyes of the law-makers with regard to its similarities, procedures and affiliations if it wishes to be recognized as health professionals and to advance the profession.

Furthermore, CSEP Board of Directors has announced that CSEP has dissociated from EIMC. They found it was no longer possible to hold the National Center License signed in 2012 with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). As mentioned, EIMC is no longer functioning with CSEP as the host organization. EIMC has decided to move forward as a non-profit organization and are now dissociated from CSEP. Many of the provincial chapters of CSEP are no longer active in many provinces where they were in the past, and are still not active in other provinces.


  1. Do I have to maintain my certification with CSEP? Do I have to pay double contribution: membership fees, insurance fees, etc.?

The membership to a PKA/CKA not only constitutes an affiliation of great value, but is also a valuable recognition by other healthcare providers, insurers and law-makers within your professional practice as a Kinesiologist.

The CSEP certifications as certified personal trainer and that of certified exercise physiologist, although an asset in your professional practice, are fields already part of the university training as Bachelor of Kinesiology. It may therefore no longer be considered relevant to maintain this type of certification, but rather to update this type of knowledge through continuous training.

Although in some provinces, employers have set CEP as a prerequisite for job opportunities, one can prove it satisfies this requirement with proof of passing the CSEP exam while finishing your Bachelor of Kinesiology degree. Only in Saskatchewan does the Work Compensation Board make it mandatory to have a CSEP certification to work. Employers are now learning about the benefits of hiring Kinesiologists to perform this work. They are misled and misinformed when continuing requiring CSEP. The CKA is actively engaging in advocating and promoting Kinesiologists in this area to educate employers.

You do not have to pay both CKA and SCEP membership if you wish to be recognized and practice as a Kinesiologist. Only CKA Kinesiology membership and insurance cover the entire scope of practice of kinesiology. Remember that as a Kinesiologist you have already been educated in exercise physiology. See Q&A below relevant to scope and insurance for more information.


  1. What is the difference in scope of practice? Why does CSEP not cover the entire scope of Kinesiology?

Although in some Canadian provinces there may be differences in education and in the distinction of terminology, for the CKA, physiology is one of the fields that are integrated into kinesiology. However, it can be the subject of a field of kinesiology in the same way as biomechanics, motor skills, anatomy, etc. One may say that Exercise Physiologists (EPs) are specialized Kinesiologists (Kins) that do not perform the entire scope of practice. Kinesiologists may act as EPs yet can perform more because of an extended scope of practice. See here the similarities: EIMC Designation Kins vs. CSEP

Exercise Physiology is only one part of Kinesiology. EPs are praticiens in that said field, often more active into research than practice depending on provinces. We recognize their work as researchers and specialists.

Kinesiology is legislated/regulated in one province officially and 2 others pending announcements. EPs are not legislated or regulated as an official Health Profession in any province. Only in SK does the Work Compensation Board stipulate that care givers must be CSEP certified. In other provinces, Kinesiologists are the reference from government agencies i.e. automobile insurance bureau:  ICBC, SAAQ etc. The requirement of employers for people to be Clinical Exercise Physiologist is decreasing across the country as there is no law related to hire only EPs.

As examples and to name a few, the following acts/treatments are in the scope of practice of Kinesiologists but not of EPs: osteopathic manual techniques,  medical reports (including FCEs), return to work planning, job site assessment, ergonomics, manual therapy, electrical therapy, etc. These may be different depending on provinces.

Kinesiologists have a wider scope of practice. Read more


  1. What is the difference in Professional Liability Insurance (PLI)? Does CKA/PKA insurance fully cover you as Kin?

Professional liability insurance (errors and omissions), which is offered to you via the CKA / ACK, covers all professional acts of a Kinesiologist (including those of the EPC or PEC).

In order to know if a specific service is covered by the national professional liability insurance, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you take a course in your kinesiology curriculum that enabled you to acquire the knowledge to perform this assessment or service?
  • Did you take a graduate course to acquire this knowledge?
  • Is the assessment or service within the scope of the profession described by the CKA / ACK?
  • Would a Kinesiologist with training identical to yours provide this service?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it is strongly recommended that you contact the CKA / PKA office for clarification and to find out if the service is covered.

In addition, your professional liability insurance (errors and omissions) covers your acts in kinesiology regardless of where they are performed (personal or client's home, workplace) and this across Canada.

We recognize that the CEP insurance covers only the CEP Scope of Practice, thus not the entire scope of kinesiology. CSEP Insurance does not cover the entire scope of Kinesiology. Both policies from CSEP and PROLINK are not the same. CSEP's certificate does not even include the word kinesiology. The coverage from CSEP is not complete for Kinesiologists.

The CKA Professional Liability policy covers the full scope of kinesiology services with no ambiguity. The CSEP policy is for Exercise Physiologists that practice in their specialty only. As a Kinesiologist, how can you really know if their CSEP Professional Liability policy is intended to cover the full scope of kinesiology services. The CSEP certificate of insurance does not reference anything related to kinesiology services. As a professional Kinesiologist, one would want a policy with more clarity and confirmation of coverage.

To help Kinesiologists in understanding the difference between the insurance programs offered on the market, CKA produced a document that highlights of a brief analysis of Insurance Programs offered by CKA vs CSEP. CSEP Insurance Programs vs. CKA (PROLINK) :

  • CSEP bundles insurance premiums into their membership fees vs. CKA and PKAs which separate insurance through PROLINK for greater transparency.
  • CSEP does not automatically include coverage for Kinesiology. It is an optional package to be purchased for $85 in addition to the standard PLI coverage costs included in CSEP membership: For example, $2M...Read more
  •  The CKA National Insurance Program policy with $1M of coverage (min.) is less expensive than the CSEP policy.
  • The CKA National Insurance Program covers the entire scope of practice of kinesiology.

The insurer for the CSEP and CKA are a Canadian owned operated insurer with their claims specialists all located in Canada but CSEP program is underwritten by a syndicate of Lloyds of London. They are based in the UK: BMS/Novex insurance is a subdivision of Lloyds of London.

The CKA policy provides unlimited consulting services in the event the member experiences a data security or privacy breach. Kins receive and store healthcare data which is viewed as sensitive personal identifiable information by the privacy commissioner. If a Kin loses their laptop or has their email hacked into then what would they do next? The CKA policy gives members immediate access to the lawyers with expertise on the privacy regulations.


  1. Will my professional judgment as a CEP be lost if I do not renew my certification?

By virtue of his university education as a Bachelor of kinesiology, Kinesiologists have the professional judgment to work with a symptomatic person following a thorough in-depth history of the client, using to the Q-AAP or another relevant questionnaire. Adequate record keeping must be observed to satisfy legal requirements and be ready in case of future lawsuits.


  1. What are the benefits to becoming member of PKA/CKA? What other services give me the CKA/PKA?

Kinesiology is a young profession, yet maturing quickly. The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance works to bring increased recognition and awareness of kinesiology and the sciences of human movement, to advocate on behalf of our partners and stakeholders, and to support common standards and professionalism. Nationally the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance is the strong and united voice of Kinesiologists. On a national level, the CKA / ACK represents ten (10) provincial kinesiology associations (PKAs) that are member associations and over 4,200 affiliated Kinesiologists

When joining CKA/PKAs, Kinesiologists benefit from:

  • Access to opportunities to networking and social capital;
  • Access to promotional event material for the National KinWeek held annually in November and the National Health and Fitness Day held annually in June, for Bell Let’s Talk for mental health;
  • Access to preferred rates from partners for industry leading professional insurance products (including errors and omissions and commercial general liability), continued education opportunities (online seminars and printed resources) or home and auto insurance;
  • The right to issue receipts to clients for the purpose of reimbursement through their health benefit plans. The CKA/PKAs are committed to investing in the reimbursement of our services through insurance companies. It is important to specify that only CKA/PKA Kinesiologists, members in good standing, can issue receipts to their clients, for the purpose of reimbursing services;
  • In addition, in order to provide better customer service, the CKA / PKAs have enhanced their member management system and websites to provide online services for registration , to view their profile, view their subscription history, to independently manage their continuing education credits and make any changes to demographic information;
  • Be listed in an online directory “Find-a-kin” for Canadians to be able to locate you and contact you thus increasing your clients.
  • Be represented in events to promote the profession to human resources manager of benefit health plans and to insurance companies to ensure kinesiology services are reimbursed to your clients.

Finally, your membership is a guarantee of professionalism towards your colleagues, other healthcare providers and law-makers, and especially for your clients. By renewing your subscription each year and taking advantage of the many services, you collectively contribute to the success and recognition of your profession.

As Kinesiology is now well represented in each province and are part of the decision makers at CKA, we are looking forward to working together with all National Health Organizations (NHOs) and PKAs to raise awareness of the kinesiology profession, Kinesiologists’ services and to work together to bring the best care to clients.

Trusting this has brought more clarification, please contact your PKA or CKA.