New regulations proposed to govern the practice of traditional Chinese medicine in Ontario discriminate against the most qualified practitioners, say representatives of the profession.

About 300 practitioners and their supporters marched along Dundas Street yesterday to demand action from the province.

In 2006, Ontario passed the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act to create a self-regulating profession, similar to the bodies that govern doctors, nurses, chiropractors and physiotherapists.

Traditional Chinese medicine involves the use of acupuncture, herbal remedies and a holistic approach to treatment.

However, a transitional council appointed by the government in 2008 to establish the regulations and standards to be overseen by the new governing body isn’t working in the best interest of the profession or the public, protesters said.

The majority of people on the transitional council are not qualified in Chinese medicine and so are not in a position to be drafting regulations, said Mona Zhang, speaking for the 2,000-member Federation of Ontario Traditional Chinese Medicine Associations.

Zhang and fellow members are demanding the health ministry dissolve the council and appoint qualified representatives to draft non-discriminatory regulations.

Her group is also calling into question the authenticity of one council member’s qualifications and wants the province to investigate.

“They are prepared to engage in civil disobedience to protest this racist policy,” said Jon Alexander, a Carleton University political science professor advising the protesters. “They won’t allow themselves to be supervised by needling amateurs. ..... They would much rather go to jail.”