Find a speech therapist

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) provide assessment and therapy services for persons who stutter in government-funded and private settings. Many, but not all SLPs provide services for stuttering. Some SLPs focus their practice on stuttering, working exclusively, or almost exclusively, in stuttering.

Government-funded speech-language pathology services

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for providing access to speech-language pathology services for Canadians. Each province or territory has its own system for delivering these services.

Government-funded speech-language pathology services are available for preschool and school aged children in most provinces. Preschool services are usually provided in hospitals or children’s treatment centres, while school-aged children receive services through the school system. Government-funded services may be available for adults in some Canadian cities, usually in hospital settings; however, most often, adults can only access speech-language pathology services through the private sector. Many places accept self, parent, and physician referrals. 

Private speech-language pathology services

Private speech-language pathology services are an option for all age groups but may not be possible for everyone or every family due to cost. Health insurance and health benefits plans provide some coverage for speech therapy; however, the total yearly amount is usually not enough to cover a full course of therapy which can require multiple sessions over many months.

Certain medical expenses that were not reimbursed by a health benefits plan can be claimed on the income tax return for the year in which services were received. The maximum provincial or territorial amount individuals can claim for medical expenses may differ depending on the home province or territory. Expenses are not reimbursed but income tax payable for that year may be lowered by a non-refundable tax credit that is determined through calculation. Persons interested in the tax credit for medical expenses are advised to consult the CRA's RC4065 "Medical Expenses" publication or an accountant regarding their situation.  

Therapy centres that offer fee reductions for eligible applicants

The names of stuttering treatment centres are provided for informational purposes and should not be regarded as a recommendation or endorsement from the Canadian Stuttering Association. Individuals and parents are responsible for evaluating and choosing from whom they receive services.  

Two Canadian provinces have treatment centres dedicated to stuttering that are not-for-profit organizations with paid staff and have charity status. Proceeds from charitable donations are used to help individuals pay for services they otherwise could not afford, usually through professional fee reductions. There is an application process followed by an approval process that determines eligibility and the extent of financial assistance given to the applicant.

The three centres listed below provide services to children and adults of all ages in individual, group, and telehealth format. Intensive therapy programs (e.g., one to three weeks of daily therapy), follow-up care and refreshers are offered for school-aged children, teens, and adults. These centres also provide clinical learning opportunities for Speech-Language Pathologists. 

Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) – Edmonton & Calgary (AB)

Speech and Stuttering Institute (SSI) – Toronto (ON)

The Care Clinic at Perley Health – Available to residents of the National Capital Region, Ottawa (ON) 

Other funding opportunities

There are charitable funding agencies that will cover costs of therapy for Indigenous peoples and children from low-income families. These agencies may differ from province-to-province, so it is best to ask a local Speech-Language Pathologist about opportunities available in a specified region, province or territory.

Some speech-language pathology practices reserve a portion of their clinic hours to pro bono work. An internet search for “free speech therapy,” or similar term, should help identify these practices. Contacting private practices to ask if they provide pro bono services is also an option.

Finding a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

The Internet is a helpful resource for learning about government-funded services and for finding SLPs in private practice in rural and urban settings, when available. Telehealth through video conferencing makes it possible to work with almost any professional who is regulated or licensed to practice in a home province or territory, giving access to more therapy options.

Professional associations and licensing or regulating bodies also provide searchable lists or registries: 

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) is the national professional association for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Their website provides information about the professions and includes a “Find a Professional” directory that lists certified professionals who practice in different parts of Canada.

Provincial regulating and licensing bodies post a registry of all SLP professionals for their respective provinces.

Provincial and territorial professional associations also provide “Find a Professional” registries. SLP professional associations for some provinces have joint memberships with SAC.

University Clinics

Canadian universities with graduate speech-language pathology programs sometimes have on-site clinics that provide clinical services through students who are supervised by a professor or clinical educator. The clinics may be run as private clinics with fees that are slightly less than those charged by community speech-language pathologists in private practice. 

What to look for in a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

Look for an SLP who is experienced and comfortable working with people who stutter and who is trained in some of the many therapy program options and therapy approaches for children and adults who stutter.

Find someone whose approach to stuttering is compatible with your personal objectives, and with whom you “click.” The therapeutic relationship between a client and SLP contributes significantly to a successful therapy experience.

A little homework goes a long way in ensuring a positive experience.


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