Where Do You Find Kinesiologists?

updated: 2019-04-02

Disclosure: 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 information. 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.

The title of Kinesiologist is not a protected title for the purposes of the law in every Canadian province except Ontario. In Ontario, the profession is regulated by legislation requiring an exclusive title of Registered Kinesiologist.

In the other provinces, you will find many other titles such as certified, practicing, professional, accredited, or affiliated Kinesiologist. All these titles are accepted by the provincial kinesiology associations and the CKA, and they are granted when one meets all the requirements to practise. When recognized by PKAs and the CKA, a Kinesiologist benefits from membership advantages such as the privilege of issuing receipts to customers so they can claim reimbursement from insurance companies. Insurance companies verify the status of Kinesiologists with their PKAs and the CKA before authorizing the refund.

Currently in Canada, Kinesiologists can hold a variety of job titles. The CKA is working to reduce the number of titles in order to prevent confusion among the public, health professionals, and insurance companies. The variety of titles is a result of differences in provincial laws. PKAs, and the CKA, prefer the use of a single title: Kinesiologist.

Here are some examples of job titles:

  • Kinesiologist
  • Kinesiologist, registered, affiliated, or accredited
  • Clinical Kinesiologist
  • Kinesiologist/teacher
  • Kinesiologist/physical trainer
  • Kinesiologist/health promotion, community health
  • Certified personal trainer
  • Exercise physiologist (certified/clinical)
  • Exercise specialist
  • Manual therapist (not recognized by some provincial associations)
  • Exercise specialist in cardiac rehabilitation
  • Ergonomist or ergonomic designer in the workplace (may be a specialty in some provinces)
  • Fitness instructor
  • Researcher in the science of physical activity

A Kinesiologist may have an area of special interest or can work with a variety of clients and in a variety of environments. See the following diagram.

For each of the environments in the diagram above, Kinesiologists can offer a wide variety of services within their scope of practice. For example:

  • In a health facility, you will find Kinesiologists providing rehabilitation services for cardiac conditions, neurological diseases, spinal cord injuries, hemodialysis, encephalopathies (stroke, CBT, concussion, tumour), oncology, metabolic diseases, pulmonary diseases, mental health, etc.
  • In the workplace, you will find Kinesiologists performing pre-hiring tests, ergonomics (specialization in some provinces), return to work programs, wellness programs, etc.




The title of a Kinesiologist may differ from province to province. The use of “Kinesiologist” with a qualifier exists because PKAs are bound by their bylaws or provincial laws. The CKA encourages use of the term “Kinesiologist” (without any qualifiers) where possible. In Canada, Ontario is the only province that legally requires the use of the title “Registered Kinesiologist.”

In addition, there are several professional labels that may sound similar to a Kinesiologist but do not mean the same thing. The titles are becoming more numerous. As a profession, we must be vigilant with regard to the quality of the education and training received and the nature of the services provided.

Some similar titles include the following:

Exercise Physiologist

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 specialization in the field of kinesiology in the same way as biomechanics, motor skills, anatomy, etc. One may say that exercise physiologists are specialized Kinesiologists who do not perform the entire scope of practice.

Athletic Therapist

In Canada, a certified athletic therapist (CAT) is a health care professional who specializes in emergency care and in the prevention, identification, intervention, and management of injuries or musculoskeletal conditions, particularly in athletes. This includes acute or chronic musculoskeletal conditions of varying origin. One may say that athletic therapists are specialized Kinesiologists who do not perform the entire scope of practice.


A kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist is not recognized by the CKA because of the wide gap in the profession’s standards of practice. The definition of kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist is as follows [1]:

"Kinesiology-kinesiotherapy is part of a therapeutic treatment framework based on a principle of muscle rebalance with the active participation of the subject in their treatment.

After a personalized clinical observation including visual exams, palpation and mobilization, the kinesiologist-kinesiotherapist will practice

  • Therapeutic massage care with active participation of the subject
  • Gentle mobilization maneuvers respecting physiological amplitudes
  • Exercise education to achieve musculoskeletal balance for better posture
  • Personalized exercise program to avoid relapses
  • Therapeutic follow-up to counter the recurrence of musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Participate in a multidisciplinary follow-up in association with other members of the healthcare field to ensure optimal patient care”

The term kinesiotherapist is the name for a physiotherapist in France, and the practice is similar.

Applied Kinesiologist

We must not confuse kinesiology with applied kinesiology, which are two similar areas, but the methods of practice are very different. Our profession is based on recognized scientific data, while applied kinesiology has an esoteric base focused on balancing energy pathways.


[1] The website for the association of Kinesiologists, physiotherapists, orthotherapists, and massage therapists of Quebec (AKKOMQ).