The NHPC was pleased to meet with Saskatchewan members and visit a massage therapy school on our visit there last month. We are currently taking actions related to matters that our members said were important to them.
We would also like to provide information on the use of the term "Registered Massage Therapist" (RMT) in Saskatchewan. Currently, the Government of Saskatchewan does not regulate the practice of massage therapy and there is no regulatory College in Saskatchewan. Therefore, no association has claim to the designation "RMT" over any other organization in the province.
What this means is that if you are a massage therapy practitioner registered with the NHPC in Saskatchewan, you can refer to yourself as a registered massage therapist because you are registered with the NHPC.
We look forward to supporting all our members through insurance and advocacy work throughout the next year and beyond.
The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada and TELUS Health Solutions have reached an agreement for the TELUS Online Billing Service. For the agreement to be finalized, it requires the insurance companies' legal departments to do a final review of the agreement.
We're currently waiting for that process to be completed and for the formal written agreement to be sent to us by TELUS Health Solutions. Once it has been signed, we will release all the details to our members.
We appreciate your patience while we wait for the written agreement to come from TELUS.
If you have already applied and been granted a CEE exemption from Sun Life, this does not affect you.
As we have previously communicated to our members, the Sun Life deadline to apply for Competency Equivalency Exam (CEE) exemption was December 31, 2013. This deadline has passed, but we are still advising our members to submit their applications for exemption immediately to Sun Life.
We have previously communicated detailed information to you via email so please check your NHPC emails for this information.
If you do not apply for exemption or if Sun Life does not approve your application for exemption, the only way Sun Life will continue to recognize your practice is if you either:
Please review Sun Life’s exemption criteria.
We encourage all members who have not already applied for CEE exemption with Sun Life to apply directly to Sun Life immediately.
To apply for exemption, please send all your massage therapy training certificates and credentials, NHPC membership certificates, continued education certificates, and other letters of exemption directly to Sun Life.
The NHPC has no information on the status of pending exemptions or why exemptions may be rejected. All information regarding Sun Life’s exemption process is available solely by contacting Sun Life.
Sun Life has given two options for NHPC members to contact them:
The NHPC continues to advocate on your behalf for full recognition from all insurance providers across Canada. If you require any further information about this deadline or other aspects of the exemption process, please do not hesitate to contact the NHPC office as soon as possible.
All members must be Regular Members in good standing to be eligible for exemption with Sun Life.
Sun Life's Competency Equivalency Exam (CEE) exemption criteria fall into two basic categories:
Automatic exemption applies to any NHPC massage therapy Regular Member in good standing who has:
A Case-by-Case Evaluation will be considered for any NHPC Regular Member in good standing who:
To apply for exemption with Sun Life, please email your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to 1-855-208-6032 or
1-855-273-2976. Your documents should include:
The NHPC welcomes its new Executive Director Kelly Sloan
New leadership will cultivate transparency and community with NHPC members
The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) is excited to welcome Kelly Sloan as the Association’s new Executive Director. Sloan brings more than 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector to this leadership role.
Before joining the NHPC, Sloan served as Executive Director to the Edmonton YWCA, the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Northern Alberta Chapter.
Sloan credits her collaborative leadership style to her Saskatchewan roots, where she learned to cultivate the values of honesty and community. “I look forward to joining the NHPC’s team of dedicated employees and Board of Directors and working on behalf of our passionate community of natural health practitioners,” says Sloan.
The addition of Kelly Sloan as Executive Director means that Acting Executive Director Michele Huszar will resume her role as the NHPC’s President of the Board of Directors. Acting President Michelle Blanchard will also return to her role as the Board’s Vice President.
The Association looks forward to starting the new year with strong leadership committed to professionalism and natural health.
For inquiries or interview opportunities, please contact:
Public Engagement Coordinator
A number of enhancements are coming soon to Alberta Blue Cross’ online health provider system. These features will make it easier for providers to submit claims online and more convenient for patients, as they only have to pay what their benefit plan does not cover.
The most recent enhancement allows providers to submit claims for members who are also insured by other benefit carriers. For example, if a patient’s primary benefit plan is administered by another carrier and Alberta Blue Cross is the secondary payer, providers can submit the difference online to Alberta Blue Cross. Other future enhancements to our online health provider system include single sign on and cancellation functionalities. More details will be available later this year.
The Alberta Blue Cross web site also features a directory of providers who offer online claims submission. Today, over 90 per cent of claims are submitted directly to Alberta Blue Cross at the time of service from most health providers.
If your office isn’t already submitting claims online to Alberta Blue Cross, get started today. Join the thousands of providers who are benefiting from this service.
Visit the Alberta Blue Cross health provider web page to view the user guides and complete the registration forms. Please send your completed registration and authorization for direct deposit forms to Alberta Blue Cross at your earliest convenience.
When Alberta Blue Cross receives your application, you will be provided with a password to access the web site. You will also receive a free countertop display to remind your patients that your office offers online claims submission for Alberta Blue Cross plan members.
If you have any questions, visit the Alberta Blue Cross health provider web site or contact Alberta Blue Cross Health Provider Relations at 780-498-8083 (Edmonton and area) or 1-800-588-1195 (toll free).
Sun Life does not recognize previous members of the Alberta Registered Massage Therapist Society (ARMTS) as part of its automatic exemption criteria for the Competency Equivalency Exam (CEE).
This will not affect any NHPC members who meet other relevant criteria and have already been exempted by Sun Life; and it may not necessarily affect NHPC members who were members of ARMTS. Members of the NHPC who were previously members of ARMTS and were trained in Canada may have enough longevity in their practice to be considered for exemption by Sun Life.
Most of those affected are NHPC members trained outside of Canada. Unfortunately, Sun Life will still not recognize foreign training as part of its exemption criteria and this is simply beyond our control.
This clarification only relates to Sun Life's criteria and only affects member exemption status with Sun Life. Any members exempted by Manulife and Alberta Blue Cross will continue to be recognized by those insurers.
The full list of previous organizations that Sun Life still recognizes for automatic exemption is as follows:
For more information regarding this or any other insurance-related matter, please contact our office at 1-888-711-7701 or email@example.com.
Starting in 2014, the Government of Manitoba will enforce its new Regulated Health Professions Act, which will restrict all health professionals from using the word "registered" unless they are part of a regulatory college.
The Government of Manitoba has yet to establish a regulatory college for massage therapists. The Regulated Health Professions Act is not regulation and is not establishing a college of registered massage therapists.
The NHPC has successfully argued that our members recognized to practice massage therapy should be unaffected by the new legislation. The Government of Manitoba has agreed to make an exception for some NHPC members.
Massage therapists who have completed 2,200 hours of initial education and training or written the CEE will experience no change. However, any massage therapist who does not meet these criteria is restricted from using "registered" and "RMT."
Any massage therapist who does not use the terms "Registered Massage Therapist" or "RMT" will not be impacted by this legislation.
Though this act is not regulation and the Government of Manitoba has yet to decide whether to establish a college of registered massage therapists or not, this act is legislation that must be followed by all practising massage therapists. This is not in any way regulation.
For more information about the Regulated Health Professions Act or any other Government initiative that affects natural health professionals, please contact Kathy Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-711-7701 ext. 228.
Over the past several months, the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) has worked diligently with Alberta Blue Cross to negotiate extended eligibility criteria for massage therapists.
As of October 1, 2013, the following criteria will now support eligibility for the three member categories below:
NHPC members, regardless of training and who are in good standing prior to January 1, 2011, will be considered eligible providers under Alberta Blue Cross's private and provincially-sponsored benefit plans.
These practitioners will not be required to demonstrate competence beyond the existing requirements of NHPC membership.
NHPC members, regardless of training, who joined from January 1, 2011, up until September 30, 2013, will be eligible providers under Alberta Blue Cross's private and provincially-sponsored benefit plans until December 31, 2014.
To remain eligible beyond December 31, 2014, these members must either:
NHPC members who join the NHPC on or after October 1, 2013, and who want to be considered eligible providers under Alberta Blue Cross's private and provincially-sponsored benefit plans, must either:
As an Association, we continue to recognize the competency of all our members through our credentialing and member application processes. In addition, the listed requirements allow members to meet Alberta Blue Cross eligibility standards
There is no application process required for eligibility as the standards are based on competence as assessed by the NHPC through requirements for membership in good standing.
We already send Alberta Blue Cross lists of eligible massage therapists and this list will simply be modified to reflect eligibility according to the new criteria. There is no additional paperwork for you.
Until September 30, 2013, all existing NHPC massage therapists who are in good standing with the Association will retain their eligibility with Alberta Blue Cross.
New members who join on or after October 1, 2013, must have completed 2,200 hours of formal training at a credentialed, recognized Canadian training institute or school, or must complete the Competency Equivalency Exam in order to gain recognition from Alberta Blue Cross.
No. The Government of Canada controls the criteria of its various health benefit plans.
If you have any questions regarding the Alberta Blue Cross eligibility, please contact our office at:
Toll free: 1-888-711-7701
Sun Life's Competency Equivalency Exam (CEE) exemption criteria fall into two basic categories:
Automatic exemption applies to any NHPC member in good standing who is recognized by the NHPC for Massage Therapy and who meets either of the following:
A Case-by-Case Evaluation will be considered for:
If you identify with either of these scenarios you can submit a request for CEE exemption and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
There is no exemption form for applying for an exemption with Sun Life. Instead, to apply for exemption please submit your diplomas, credentials, continued education certificates, a record of your current employment and work history, and any other CEE exemption approval letters you may have received.
Documents should be submitted to email@example.com.
The NHPC has been in continued negotiations with Sun Life regarding their policy for foreign-trained massage therapists. At this stage, massage therapists who were trained in foreign countries must successfully complete the CEE or obtain 2,200 hours of recognized Canadian training in order to gain recognition from Sun Life for reimbursement of their services.
If your client claims are currently being approved by Sun Life
If you lack 2,200 hours of training and have neither passed the CEE nor been exempted from having to do so by Sun Life, your eligibility with the insurer will expire January 1, 2014.
If your client claims are NOT currently being approved by Sun Life
You will become eligible only if you upgrade to 2,200 hours of training, pass the CEE, or are exempted by Sun Life from having to challenge the CEE.
For any further questions, contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-711-7701.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2013 AGM held June 21, 2013, in Edmonton, Alberta. The AGM acknowledged the many activities of the past year and laid the groundwork for the success of future NHPC initiatives.
The meeting met quorum. Membership accepted the 2012 financial statements and voted in favour of bylaw amendment #1 (which is outlined in full on page 32 of the 2013 Annual General Meeting Booklet).
In addition, the NHPC Board formally acknowledged and said farewell to Stephanie Nunez-Braatz, whose completion of six years of service on the Board has contributed to the success of the Association.
The Board announced the appointment of its newest member, Colette Pierce, of Miniota, Manitoba. Colette is a long-standing member and volunteer of the NHPC. The team is excited to welcome Colette to the Board.
The meeting also included a forum for questions and answers, and many members took the opportunity to voice their appreciation, questions, and concerns.
Finally, after the meeting was adjourned, members teamed up with the NHPC Board, Committee volunteers, and staff to participate in an interactive planning session to brainstorm how the NHPC can achieve its goals regarding membership expansion, public engagement, and strategic relationships.
The ideas and suggestions from this session will contribute to Vision 2020, NHPC's new strategic plan for 2014 to 2020. Members contributed such great suggestions that we plan to reach out to other members who could not be present with an invitation to contribute. Watch for more information.
The commitment and creative spirit of our members was, as always, evident at this year's AGM and we cannot express enough appreciation for member attendance, participation, and continued support. This is the reason why this year we celebrate 25 years as an Association.
On June 25, Executive Director and Registrar, Colleen MacDougall, tendered her resignation after 12 years of service to the Association.
Michele Huszar, President of NHPC will step in as acting Executive Director and Jan Bagot, Complaints Director, as acting Registrar until the roles are filled. Vice President, Michelle Blanchard, will step up as President of the Board of Directors to support Michele Huszar's temporary placement in the role of Executive Director.
The Board and staff of the NHPC thank Colleen for her leadership and wish her every success in her new career path. If you wish to send your regards to Colleen, please send them to email@example.com.
The updates let candidates know what to expect during the CEE practical and include important information on examination protocols and processes. CEE candidates should review these carefully, as they can affect their ability to complete the examination.
When the practical component locations and dates are confirmed, candidates who have completed the written component will receive an email inviting them to reserve a seat through their Test Run Online (TRO) account.
Candidates will need to bring another person with them to the CEE Practical to act as their Standardized Client for demonstration of different techniques and assessments during the exam.
We're looking for members to volunteer as Standardized Clients for the Competency Equivalency Exam (CEE) Practical component. Volunteers must be either:
We need volunteers for both Edmonton and Calgary where the testing facilities are located.
Volunteer Standardized Clients must:
Standardized Clients will be given instructions at the test centres before the CEE Practical and cannot communicate with candidates at all during the exam. Any attempt to communicate will be deemed cheating and the candidate will be disqualified from the exam.
Volunteers will be responsible for their own transportation to the exam venues and will be notified of being needed 24 hours before the exam takes place.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact our CEE Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-711-7701 ext. 236.
Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross have now completed developing their respective processes for exempting NHPC massage therapists from having to challenge the Competency Equivalency Examination (CEE) in order to demonstrate substantial equivalence to the 2,200-hour training standard.
Please note that both insurers have extended their May 1, 2013, implementation deadlines, allowing NHPC practitioners time to complete both exemption application processes. The Alberta Blue Cross deadline will now be August 1, 2013; Sun Life’s will be September 1, 2013.
Alberta Blue Cross has also reduced their acceptance criteria from that which was previously communicated. Please see the below sections for how this impacts you:
What does this mean for me and my exemption options?
What is the process for applying for exemptions?
How do these announcements impact claims that are currently in progress?
If I have not yet challenged the CEE, but am interested in doing so, how do these changes impact me?
How does this relate to the Temporary Acceptance notification NHPC sent out on April 3, 2013?
If Manulife exempted you from challenging the CEE, you should consider applying to Sun Life, as both insurers have adopted the same exemption criteria. If you were declined by Manulife, you may still apply to Sun Life for an exemption; however your application is not likely to be approved.
Alberta Blue Cross has now communicated to the NHPC that its standards will be more restrictive than those required by Manulife and Sun Life. Previously, the Alberta-based health-benefits provider had agreed to accept a listing that included everyone exempted by Manulife; now, because they must administer their own exemption process rather than rely on an existing listing, they have reduced their criteria to three broad categories. They describe their categories as follows.
Exemption criteria: If you do not qualify for the Alberta Blue Cross massage therapy eligibility requirements by August 1, 2013, you may be considered, if you meet one of the criteria listed below.
If you have any questions on these categories, or require further details, please contact Alberta Blue Cross at:
Given the deadline is now August 1, 2013, the NHCPA has more time to negotiate. In the meantime, and up until the August 1, 2013, deadline, all members will continue to be recognised for reimbursement by Alberta Blue Cross.
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While Sun Life will continue reimbursing NHPC massage therapists with no changes to requirements until September 1, 2013, anyone wanting the CEE exemption must submit the required documentation by July 31, 2013. Sun Life asks that you provide:
Submit the above documentation by:
For full details regarding the Alberta Blue Cross exemption process, or to obtain an application form, please call:
Alberta Blue Cross asks that you provide only documentation listed in its application forms; please do not include any exemption letters received from other insurers.
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Any NHPC massage therapy member whose claims are currently being approved by Alberta Blue Cross will maintain that coverage eligibility uninterrupted until August 1, 2013; eligibility with Sun Life will continue until September 1, 2013.
Any NHPC massage therapy member who was not previously eligible with Sun Life remains ineligible until such time as you have completed either 2,200 hours of recognised, Canadian massage therapy training or successfully challenged the CEE.
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If you have not yet had a chance to challenge the CEE, you now have a bit more time to prepare and successfully complete the exam. As long as you pass both the written and practical portions by August 1, 2013, you will retain your eligibility with Alberta Blue Cross; you will have until September 1, 2013, to retain Sun Life acceptance. Furthermore, as soon as you finish the CEE, you will regain your standing with Manulife.
It doesn’t; the dates and timing are coincidental. If you complete the written portion of the CEE prior to May 1, 2013, you will have until August 1, 2013, to complete the practical while still retaining eligibility with Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross.
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A number of insurance companies, including Manulife, Sun Life, and Alberta Blue Cross, have agreed that successfully challenging the Continued Competency Exam (CEE) will constitute substantial equivalence to the "2,200-hour standard."
In addition, Manulife has now adopted criteria exempting some massage therapists who lack 2,200 hours of formal training from having to challenge the CEE. This exemption is based on a combination of factors, including years of professional experience, education, and affiliation with certain massage therapy associations. Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross have now also formally adopted Manulife’s criteria.
Manulife's exemption application process consists of contacting the insurer, requesting the relevant form, and then completing and submitting this form to:
Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross
To assist us in developing an exemption process that will work with Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross, we ask that you send us a copy of your Manulife CEE exemption letter to:
As part of this process, please do not send your exemption application form to the NHPC. All applications should be sent directly to Manulife through the process outlined above. The NHPC only requires a copy of the letter from Manulife exempting you from the CEE requirements.
The NHPC is working with Sun Life and Alberta Blue Cross to develop a process that will lead to their formal recognition of CEE-exempt practitioners. Our goal is to provide you with an approach that is simple and requires minimal action on your part.
As soon as we have an approved process in place we will notify you and include an update on the NHPC website.
We continue to negotiate on behalf of all our practitioners with the entire health benefit insurance sector.
With respect to recognition of NHPC members in non-regulated provinces, most insurers recognize you on the basis of your membership with us, and deal directly with us in the event there are any questions regarding your credentials. As always, we will keep you abreast of any specific industry changes as we learn of them.
NHPC members based in Edmonton, AB, are being selected at random to supply their Criminal Record Check (CRC) as a part of a biannual audit in accordance with a service level agreement that we hold with the City of Edmonton.
If you are selected for this random audit, you will receive a letter and an email notifying you about the audit and what your next steps are.
If you are due for renewal this spring and selected for the audit, you will need to submit your Criminal Record Check (CRC) or receipt of CRC along with your renewal application by April 30, 2013. We will not be able to process your renewal application without your CRC or receipt for CRC, if you are selected for the Criminal Record Check audit.
You don't need to submit your CRC, if you have not received a letter stating that you are being audited.
Both your renewal form and your Criminal Record Check (or receipt for your Criminal Record Check) must be submitted, if you are being audited and renewing this spring.
You have two options on how to submit your renewal and Criminal Record Check:
For any questions, you are welcome to contact the Membership Department by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-888-711-7701.
In 2012, NHPC approached the Government of Alberta, asking them to implement a Holistic Health and Fitness Tax Credit (HHFTC). We asked Alberta members to participate in the lobby during the Spring Provincial Election and members were quick to respond to NHPC's request, which proved successful.
The Alberta PCs were elected and Allison Redford, with a renewed mandate to lead the province, indicated support for a $500.00 tax credit.
However, Government research indicates that a tax credit is ineffective at increasing the number of users of wellness and fitness programs and would have little impact for low-income Albertans.
Working together with Alberta Health, NHPC is looking at other options to evolve the program in an inclusive way that will increase the number of clients and users of Natural Health.
Though the HHFTC has not made it in to the 2013 budget, there is still a very strong political support for a program.
NHPC continues to move forward with a more comprehensive program, the Holistic Health and Fitness Program (HHFP). We will continue to push forward on behalf of our members and continue to update you as more information becomes available.
NHPC asks practitioners to be patient while we work toward growing your options to expand your client base.
For more information, email Kathy Watson, Government Relations Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Changes to the City of Calgary Massage License Bylaw 51M97 are effective January 1st, 2013. This will require NHPC members to provide proof of affiliation when renewing their business license in 2013.
Proof of affiliation is a valid NHPC membership certificate or insurance letter, which can be sent to the City of Calgary by email, fax, or in-person at their Customer Service Counter.
City of Calgary Changes Massage Bylaw & Adopts NHPC’s Collaborative Model
NHPC has been working with the City of Calgary this year to facilitate the adoption of the NHPC "collaborative model". This means changes to the "Massage Bylaw" that will ensure NHPC members are not licensed by the City of Calgary in the same category as escorts and exotic dancers.
NHPC members will fall into the Massage Practitioner category when they renew their license in 2013, if they provide proof of NHPC membership.
What You Need to Do
The City of Calgary has sent letters to all currrently licensed Massage Practitioners advising them of the changes and what actions they need to take to ensure they are correctly categorised when they renew their license.
A Massage Bylaw Information Open House was hosted by the City of Calgary on Monday, November 5, 2012. NHPC's Government Relations Manager, Kathy Watson, was in attendance.
More information on the Bylaw changes and the Open House is available from the City of Calgary.
It's been a pleasure for NHPC to work with the City of Calgary to advance the recognition of credentialed Massage Practitioners.
Calgary Herald Editorial: http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/Editorial+good+hands/7013525/story.html
SENT VIA EMAIL TO email@example.com
August 9, 2012
To: Calgary Herald Editorial Board
From: Colleen MacDougall, Executive Director & Registrar
Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association
Subject: July 30, 2012 Editorial: In good hands. Standards for massage therapists are overdue
As you point out in the opening paragraph of your July 30th editorial, In Good Hands, your editorial board is on the same page as some major insurers: that is to say, like them you care nothing for the public interest. If you did, you would have called more than one source and would have done more than reprint the promotional material provided by insurance carriers. The inaccuracies in your piece are numerous, the errors egregious, and the slant is all about protecting the profits of billion-dollar corporations at the expense of hard-working Albertans both within and outside the massage therapy sector.
First, Sun Life is NOT “now refusing claims from Alberta masseurs who don’t meet the educational standard.” In fact, Sun Life has had in place a requirement for EITHER 2,200 hours of training OR a demonstrated equivalence for quite some time. That’s because the educational benchmark is intended to help demonstrate competence. But because it doesn’t do so as effectively as our industry might like, a national standard for competence has been developed; one that focuses on knowledge and performance indicators. Thus, Sun Life quite properly relies on professional associations to determine competence based on reasonable criteria.
Second, Ms. Pritchard is at best disingenuous when she notes the dangers inherent in standards of care and the “numerous horror stories” reported to her. She is mixing apples and oranges by contending that education is linked to unhygienic conditions and massage-related injury; these are issue of ethics and individual attention to detail, which are overseen by the professional associations and are subject to sanctions. As the Executive Director of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association (NHPCA), the group representing the lion’s share of massage therapists in non-regulated jurisdictions, I can categorically state that we take a dim view of unethical behaviour, regardless of how much training the practitioner involved may have. In other words, someone 500 hours of training is no more likely than someone who took a 2,200-hour course to forget about “changing the sheets and cleaning the table after every client.” Like most professional associations, the NHPCA has a comprehensive public Complaints Resolution Process, mandatory member compliance with a Code of Ethics and Continued Competency Program and extensive member credentialing processes. These processes speak to the competency of our members and to our sectors commitment to public safety.
Third, by virtue of serving as de facto regulators—but without any kind of oversight or accountability—insurers are imposing themselves in an area they, by their own admission, know nothing about. For example, Manulife has given massage therapists in Canada a four-month notice stipulating that as of October 1, 2012, they will no longer reimburse clients for services unless the therapist in question has 2,200 hours of initial training or an equivalent demonstrated by an externally-administered exam. At the same time, Manulife is acknowledging its employees are not competent to assess the credentials of individual therapists. This decision means that a practitioner with five years of experience and hundreds of healthy, happy clients will no longer be able to practice his or her chosen profession. This, despite the fact that the individual is providing a valuable service; if s/he weren’t, clients wouldn’t return. Albertans aren’t stupid; if they’re being treated by an incompetent practitioner, they’ll figure it out pretty quickly. Albertans look to the benefit that they are receiving from their massage therapist. The insurance industry wants to benefit from a free-market system but doesn’t believe the same rules should apply to massage therapists. That’s not to say we don’t support the notion of standards; we do. We’re simply saying those standards should not be imposed arbitrarily by a third party with a vested interest in not paying for the service. The NHPCA supports the notion of standards through a government regulatory system. In the absence of this, Alberta associations are providing these standards.
Most of the practitioners who risk being put out of work as a result of Manulife’s four-month notice possess a combination of experience and education a recent 2,200-hour graduate would be hard-pressed to match. With time, that new therapist will gain the skills necessary but education is nothing more than the formal beginning of a long journey towards true expertise. Many Albertans depend on massage therapists to keep them healthy, happy, and productive. The public good is ill-served by actions that effectively reduce their ability to access services they need, which is exactly what’s going to happen as a result of Manulife’s four-month notice on their new criteria.
Finally, let’s consider what would happen if new educational standards were retroactively imposed on our province’s electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. What happens to the master plumber who suddenly has his tickets stripped until s/he can demonstrate as much book learning as a recent NAIT or SAIT graduate? Make sense? Of course not; no more so than telling highly experienced massage therapists that, while they’ve demonstrated their skill and expertise over many years of successful practice, they can’t practice their chosen professions until they pass an exam. Should an assessment tool be used to evaluate competence going forward? Absolutely. We’re quite comfortable with such a concept, particularly when it is introduced in an orderly manner that allows practitioners the time to prepare adequately. But telling healers that in 160 days all their years of experience will mean nothing and that they’ll no longer be able to provide the services they’ve offered to thousands of satisfied clients is just plain wrong. Perhaps the editors of the Calgary Herald should pay a visit to some of these "unqualified" therapists; maybe then you’d discover that the insurance industry is, as ever, motivated by financial, rather than public, interest.
Executive Director & Registrar
Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association.
Over the past several months, NHPC has been in discussions with the City of Calgary on the revision of their "Massage Bylaw" and had proposed that the City of Calgary adopt NHPC's "collaborative model". In the past, NHPC members have been lumped in the same category as exotic dancers and escorts when applying for business licenses.
The NHPC's "collaborative model" has now been passed by Calgary City Council, meaning that NHPC members in Calgary, AB, will no longer be licensed in the same way as exotic dancers and escorts.
This is very exciting news for NHPC and its members, because it means that the City of Calgary has trusted NHPC to validate authenticity of its members as qualified health care professionals. Because NHPC has requirements to become a member, including a detailed application, criminal record check, graduation from a recognized school or program, and mandatory compliance with the Continued Competency Program (CCP), it is in the position to qualify members as healthcare professionals.
Details on the new bylaw are currently being worked out between the NHPC and the City of Calgary.
The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) works with municipal administrators and elected officials to ensure the advancement of professions represented by the NHPC.
NHPC has been proposing that municipalities across Canada adopt a "Collaborative Model for Business Licensing of Natural Health Care". This municipal "collaborative model" provides the best possible public protection by capturing the recognition of all professionals working as natural health practitioners—including those who are members of a regulatory college and those who are members of a municipally recognized professional association.
Additionally, as it should be, the "collaborative model" removes municipalities from the responsibility of "credentialing" professionals and places that responsibility with regulatory bodies or associations.
For more information, contact Kathy Watson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 780-484-2010 or (toll-free) 1-888-711-7701.