What Physiotherapy Assistants Do

  • Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association

What Physiotherapy Assistants Do

Physiotherapy Assistants work under the direction of a licensed physiotherapist to provide physiotherapy services.

Physiotherapy Assistants and the Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association

Individuals working as Assistants within a physiotherapy setting in Nova Scotia are warmly invited to join the Canadian Physiotherapy Association's National Physiotherapist Assistant Assembly (NPAA).  The Assembly was formed in 2005 as the National Support Worker Assembly; it became the National Physiotherapist Assistant Assembly in 2011.  The Assembly has members from across Canada.  For individuals living/working in Nova Scotia, membership in the Assembly provides access to both Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association (NSPA) resources such as newsletters, members-only website access, networking opportunities, and much more.

For information on NPAA activities and how to join, please visit the CPA's NPAA web pages.  For information on working as a Physiotherapy Assistant in Nova Scotia, or for information on Nova Scotia membership benefits for NPAA members, please contact the NSPA office at info@physiotherapyns.ca.

Physiotherapy Assistant Education in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has two Physiotherapy Assistant education programs.  Please visit the program websites for program details:

     Nova Scotia Community College

​     Eastern College

Guiding Principles for Working with Physiotherapy Assistants

  • Assistants must work under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
  • Physiotherapists maintain responsibility and accountability for the quality of the supervision provided.
  • Physiotherapists are required to make a judgment about the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the Physiotherapy Assistant prior to assigning tasks.
  • Decision to delegate to the Physiotherapy Assistant includes factors such as education, training, competence, the environment, and client needs.
  • Physiotherapists are to obtain informed consent from each client for the involvement of a Physiotherapy Assistant in the delivery of their treatment plan.

Physiotherapist Responsibilities

The physiotherapist maintains responsibility for the physiotherapy treatment delivered to all clients under his/her care.  It is, therefore, always the responsibility of the physiotherapist to:

  • Interpret referrals and obtain informed consent,
  • Conduct initial and ongoing assessments of the client and interpret the findings,
  • Formulate the treatment plan, with goals, in consultation with the client,
  • Decide what, if any, components or modifications of the treatment plan can be safely delegated to a Physiotherapy Assistant,
  • Ensure appropriate documentation,
  • Re-evaluate and/or modify treatment plans and goals,
  • Provide appropriate education to clients, families, and other caregivers,
  • Conduct discharge planning.

The physiotherapist is accountable for the appropriate assignment of duties to the support personnel under his/her supervision and shall not delegate to a less qualified person:

  • Any task that the physiotherapist has not observed the support personnel perform competently,
  • Any task that requires the unique skill, knowledge, and judgment of a physiotherapist,
  • A task or procedure in a situation where risk requires the continuous clinical judgment of a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists with questions regarding the clinical role of Physiotherapy Assistants and/or the supervision of Assistants should contact the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists at registrar@nsphysio.com.


Our thanks are extended to the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists for their contribution of content regarding Principles and Responsibilities.

Physiotherapists can be found all across Nova Scotia.

Find a Physio