2018 Annual Report
About the NHPC Community
In 2018, the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) celebrated its 30th anniversary. Throughout the year we recognized the decades members have spent advocating for the advancement and recognition of holistic health practices in Canada.
Thirty years after its humble beginnings as a social club consisting of a handful of members, the NHPC is now the largest holistic health organization across the country, with over 6,400 members and 19 staff. The Association recognizes over 60 holistic health practices that contribute toward the health and well-being of Canadians.
The Association champions the professional excellence of its practitioners and their modalities. It has a strong tradition of high professional standards and is committed to maintaining and strengthening these standards for its members.
NHPC staff advocate to the public, all levels of government, and the insurance industry for fair recognition of members and the holistic health modalities they practise.
Members of the NHPC enjoy:
- competitive insurance rates
- the ability to work in every province and territory in Canada without having to change associations
- coverage for malpractice and commercial general liability insurance nationwide, regardless of where they work
- access to a staff of 19 people, including a dedicated advisor to answer questions about managing their practice
Members also have access to a variety of group discounts, learning opportunities, timely member communications, and much more.
Board President's Report
Message from Pete Swales, NHPC President
We are pleased to report that 2018 was a year of tremendous successes!
The Board of Directors met four times — twice in-person and twice via webinar, not only saving significant dollars, but allowing members to participate from home or from their practices, rather than taking time away to travel.
In fact, online meetings and webinars were a highlight of 2018 for meetings, training purposes, and for Connections Cafes. In 2018, the NHPC held 13 Connections Cafe meetings to discuss a variety of matters with its members. The resulting views and suggestions help shape future offerings and policy decisions.
The volunteers who make up the NHPC Board are elected from different provinces across Canada and practise a variety of holistic health practices. In 2018, the Board of Directors held in-person and online meetings and attended several Connections Cafes.
The following Board committees met throughout the year:
- Sanctions Committee
- Leadership and Nominations Committee
- Performance Assessment and Compensation Review Committee
- Bylaw Committee
- Complaints Resolution Review Task Force
The Board and staff welcomed their new Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Tendai Nzuma. Tendai brings considerable knowledge and a progressive perspective to the NHPC.
The Board extends its sincere gratitude to the many members, both new and seasoned, who participate on the Board committees. Their various backgrounds provide a rich mix that makes their committee work so valuable and successful.
Chief Executive Officer and Registrar's Report
Message from Tendai Nzuma, NHPC CEO and Registrar
In 2018, membership retention exceeded goals, as did new memberships. Among the reasons for choosing NHPC membership were the supportive and inclusive community, competitive rates, and the unique and valuable member services. The NHPC welcomes any suggestions from its members to add to the 11 discount provider offerings.
Unique to the NHPC is the Practice Management team. In 2018, they were contacted 460 times. Ninety per cent of those calls and emails came from the NHPC membership, while the remaining ten per cent came from members of the public.
The NHPC serves the public and upholds the standards of the profession with a robust public complaints resolution process — a respectful means of addressing allegations of misconduct.
Advocating on behalf of members is of utmost importance both to the industry and to governments.
Legislation of massage therapy allows governments to define and regulate competency, which demands safe professional treatment supported by a complaints process. The NHPC continues to advocate for regulation of massage therapy in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In 2018, regulation was also initiated in Prince Edward Island.
These and other successes are detailed further in this report. The NHPC Board of Directors and staff share their optimism for future endeavours with their members, whose loyalty and high ethical standards serve as a strong foundation for years to come.
Through the Complaints Resolution Process, the NHPC is committed to ensuring that members practise in a safe, effective, and ethical manner. Resolution of complaints continues to focus on fair, consistent, and transparent decision-making with an emphasis on remediation.
The NHPC accepted 14 new complaints in 2018. An interim suspension or condition was placed on three of the members.
The nature of the complaints included:
- personal misconduct (touch/boundary/consent)
- personal misconduct (attitude/respect/confidentiality)
- business misconduct (fraudulent/negligent billing/recordkeeping)
At the end of 2018, 10 files had been closed and 14 active files remained open in various stages of the process.
The Complaints Resolution Task Force
In the first quarter of 2018, NHPC Board of Directors reconvened the Complaints Resolution Task Force (CRTF), a committee that completed a review of Article 10 in 2013. Since the last review, the NHPC has worked diligently to reinforce member awareness of ethical practice.
Throughout the year, the CRTF conducted a review of the complaints process to ensure that the mandate of public protection was balanced with the interests of the membership.
The CRTF determined increased peer review was needed regarding the way that complaints are assessed, investigated, and resolved. Beginning in 2019, an Ethics Committee will be established to provide subject matter expertise and recommendations for the resolution of complaints.
Highlights from Candace Pichonsky, Practice Competency Manager
Throughout the year, the practice management team was contacted for information related to a variety of subjects, including standards of practice, practice techniques, business practices, and employment matters.
The practice management team serves as an essential source of information to the public, the insurance industry, and Association members by providing advice on topics such as:
- general business practice
- workplace dilemmas
- interpersonal conflicts
- professional conduct
- ethics and obtaining informed consent
These discussions reflect the realities of working as a holistic health practitioner and ensure that members have the guidance they need to perform to the NHPC's high ethical and professional standards.
The practice management team liaises with the insurance industry, educating decision-makers on the Association's standards of practice and the professional responsibilities required of its members. This work is essential to positioning holistic health practitioners as vital providers of health care in Canada.
The NHPC also visits massage therapy schools across the country to educate students and faculty on the industry and the professional responsibilities of working as a massage therapist.
The practice competency manager provides educational opportunities to members through workshops offered both in person and online. The workshop topic for 2018 was Who Really Owns the Clients' Records.
These workshops were free for members and provided them the opportunity to complete the ethics portion of their Continued Competency Program (CCP) credits.
In 2018, the practice management team also developed a position paper titled Treatment of Sensitive Areas of the Body and an accompanying consent form for members to use in their practices. The NHPC develops tools like this to ensure members have the resources they need to be effective practitioners.
Membership and Credentials
Highlights from Bo Li, Membership and Credentials Manager
The membership team assists applicants to understand and meet the membership requirements of the Association. To maintain its high professional standards, the NHPC conducts initial application reviews and ongoing audits of its members.
Discount Provider Program
The NHPC offers several benefits to its members to ensure they get the most out of their membership. This includes group discounts on useful services and products and a variety of educational opportunities.
The Association has negotiated special rates for our members with the following providers:
- ATB Financial
- Breath for Life
- Economical Insurance
- Edmonton Recreation Centers
- Manupractic Institute
- SOAP Vault
- Specialized Benefits
- St. John's Ambulance
The NHPC exceeded its membership renewal goal of 90 per cent in 2018. The streamlined process presented on the website continues to support members to renew with ease. A special thanks to these members who continue to contribute to a thriving association dedicated to their well-being as practitioners in massage therapy and holistic health.
Welcoming new members to our community is vital to ensuring the NHPC maintains healthy membership levels. Recruitment events across Canada are great opportunities for the Association to:
- meet with students from a variety of disciplines
- share the advocacy efforts undertaken by the Association
- present membership benefits to potential new members
- monitor and evaluate the curriculums of various schools
In 2018, the NHPC visited 24 schools as a part of its school visit program and attended career fairs at MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, and the Alberta College of Massage Therapy.
Massage Therapy Membership Recruitment
To maintain its high professional standards,the NHPC Board of Directors approved the following changes to membership criteria for massage therapists:
- effective January 1, 2019, the NHPC will no longer recognize new massage therapy programs that offer less than 2200 hours of education
- applicants must have graduated from a recognized 2200-hour program, or be enrolled in the second year of a recognized 2200-hour program, to be eligible for regular membership.
- existing members in good standing who have less than 2200 hours of massage therapy education will not be affected by this change
Throughout 2018, the Association reviewed its modality standards to ensure they were current.
An amendment has been made to the myofascial cupping modality standard to include fire cupping in its scope of practice.
Massage Therapy Regulation
Highlights from Kathy Watson, Government Relations Director
The NHPC represents its members at all levels of government. To ensure that member interests are accurately represented, the NHPC frequently consults with members in areas with active issues or initiatives.
Throughout 2018, NHPC staff and volunteers continued to advocate on behalf of the membership relating to regulation of massage therapy in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Significant steps toward regulation also took place in Prince Edward Island.
In Alberta, the Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta (TC-CMTA) is comprised of staff and volunteer representatives from the three Alberta massage therapy associations.
The TC-CMTA is engaged in building a relationship with the Canadian Registered Massage Therapy Association (CRMTA) to further the goal of regulation.
The Government of Manitoba continues to work on updating existing health professional colleges to comply with the new Regulated Health Professions Act. It has informed the NHPC that it is likely to be three years before the review of these colleges is complete.
In the meantime, the NHPC is preparing plans to assist members to meet the criteria for transitional entry into the college when it is formed.
In 2018, The NHPC launched a website to gather member stories about how they would be affected if they were not grandfathered into the college. This site was shared with Saskatchewan MLAs and was well received.
The Massage Therapy Association of Saskatchewan (MTAS) hosted a meeting for the NHPC and both expressed their desire to work together toward regulation. The Government of Saskatchewan has since expressed interest in moving forward with regulation of massage therapists.
The NHPC continues to keep government and opposition MLAs well informed on the facts about NHPC and the massage therapy profession.
Prince Edward Island
The Government of Prince Edward Island has initiated regulation of massage therapy. A transitional council has been assembled to review draft documents written by the government.
The NHPC provided support to a member in PEI who examined the draft legislation and advocated for fair treatment of all massage therapists, regardless of which association they belong to.
Highlights from Paul Donovan, Industry Relations Manager
The NHPC advocates to insurance companies across Canada to ensure that members are recognized for their competencies and high professional standards.
Building on the success of previous years, the industry relations team continues to make great strides in securing the eligibility of NHPC holistic health practitioners with insurance companies.
Industry Awareness and Collaboration
In May 2018, the NHPC attended the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Claims and Anti-fraud Conference in St. John's, NL. It was a positive opportunity to educate the insurance industry on the benefits of various holistic health practices and to network with other conference delegates.
Representatives from 30 insurance companies visited the NHPC booth during the conference. The NHPC received overall positive feedback from CLHIA and insurance delegates regarding its involvement and participation at the conference
Starting in 2018, the Association began assisting members who specialize in non-massage therapy NHPC-recognized practices with a letter-writing campaign. Letters prepared by the NHPC provided a description of the practice and how it improves the health and well-being of the client.
Members were encouraged to provide these letters to clients, who in turn could submit them to their insurance plan administrators, requesting coverage for these treatments in their extended health benefit plans.
These letters are part of ongoing efforts to have various holistic health treatments be eligible for reimbursement with insurance providers.
ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society
The NHPC has undertaken relationship-building efforts with ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) Fraternal Benefit Society Insurance. ACTRA has previously denied recognition of NHPC massage therapists.
The industry relations team worked throughout 2017 and 2018 to build rapport with the insurance company. In 2018, they submitted a formal request for the recognition of NHPC massage therapists as eligible providers with ACTRA benefits plans that includes massage coverage.
Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan
The NHPC has been advocating to Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) to recognize NHPC holistic health practices, specifically reflexology.
The Association built a relationship with the insurance company in 2018 and engaged Alberta reflexology members to have their ASEBP clients submit written requests for coverage of reflexology treatments. Once it has received the minimum number of required requests, ASEBP and its Board of Governors will review reflexology for potential coverage inclusion in plans.
Manitoba Blue Cross
The Association submitted a formal request to Manitoba Blue Cross for the recognition of NHPC reflexologists as eligible providers with private benefits plans that include reflexology coverage.
Saskatchewan Blue Cross
NHPC reflexologists are now eligible providers with Saskatchewan Blue Cross private benefit plans that include reflexology coverage.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance and Workers' Compensation Board
The NHPC continues to advocate for the recognition of NHPC massage therapists with Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) in Saskatchewan.
Education and Events
Highlights from Ibukun Adewusi, Senior Education and Events Coordinator
The NHPC supports the ongoing professional development of its members by offering a variety of educational opportunities throughout the year.
These events are great networking opportunities for the holistic health community and a way for members to meet their Continued Competency Program (CCP) credit requirements.
Courses, Workshops, Online Modules, and Webinars
NHPC-partnered courses and workshops, online modules, and webinars offer members across Canada high-quality professional development opportunities on a variety of topics.
Online learning modules are continued education that practitioners can complete from home at their own pace. New online modules offered in 2018 included an NHPC ethics module on fraud prevention.
Webinars allow members to learn with peers and interact with presenters in real-time, regardless of their location. In 2018, more than 200 members participated in four live webinars. Topics included:
- What's Changing with Your AON Insurance Coverage?
- Massage Therapist Success Mindset
- Taking the Stress out of Year-End
- Connect with your Audience and Generate New Clients on Social Media
The NHPC also partnered with professional speakers to facilitate two in-person workshops in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
NHPC Connections Cafes are held across the country throughout the year. At these meetings, members receive important Association updates, provide invaluable input and ideas to NHPC staff, and provide feedback on Association activities.
The information collected at these meetings assists staff to plan future initiatives that benefit NHPC members.
Connections Cafes were hosted in-person and online throughout the year. This ensured that all members across Canada had the opportunity to attend the meetings, receive necessary updates, and ask questions. In 2018, the NHPC hosted five in-person and eight online member meetings, with over 400 members in attendance.
A one-hour practice management workshop, titled Who Really Owns the Clients' Records was presented at all Connections Cafes.
NHPC Study Tour
The 2018 Thai Massage Study Tour was hosted in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from February 2 to 18.
Twelve travellers expanded their practical skills and learned a new modality at one of Thailand's most reputable schools, the Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai (TMC). The group experienced the local culture, scenery, and flavours of Chiang Mai while building lasting friendships.
NHPC National Conferences
NHPC conferences deliver high-quality workshops hosted by world-class presenters on a variety of holistic health topics. In 2018, the conference series offered two high-profile events to the holistic health community.
The two conferences, themed Pearls of Wisdom: A Holistic Approach to Chronic Illness, were held in Red Deer, AB, and Regina, SK.
Red Deer, Alberta
The Red Deer conference was held from June 14 to 17 in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting.
Highlights of the conference included an ethics workshop, the NHPC tradeshow, a massage therapy student panel, and a gala dinner and dance in celebration of our 30th anniversary.
Over four days, 20 speakers offered a total of 33 workshops covering several NHPC recognized modalities. Two hundred and forty delegates attended the Red Deer conference.
The Regina Conference was held from October 12 to October 14 in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Connections Cafe meeting.
Over three days, 10 speakers offered a total of 12 workshops covering several NHPC recognized modalities. Seventy-one delegates attended the Saskatchewan conference.
Highlights from Elaine Sutton, Communications and Marketing Manager
The NHPC communications team is dedicated to keeping members up-to-date on all matters that affect their membership and the holistic health industry.
The team is also responsible for raising awareness of holistic health with Canadians through advertising, media relations, social media, blogs, and the NHPC website.
The NHPC communicates with members primarily through email and telephone, although beginning in 2018, members were also able to contact staff through Facebook Chat.
Updates on Association initiatives are delivered by email twice per month through the NHPC News. There, members receive information about regulation, courses, practice management tips, industry highlights, and more.
In 2018, the NHPC maintained a high average open rate of 53 per cent for both member emails and NHPC News.
The NHPC continued to advertise in the Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, and Winnipeg International Airports in 2018.
The Association also advertised in the Alberta First Nations Health Care magazine. This publication was delivered to Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada, government officials in health care and education, and First Nations health professionals, who represent over 900,000 people living in 634 First Nations across the country.
We Are NHPC
The communications team collected stories from Saskatchewan members and built a website that shared how regulation of massage therapy would affect them if there were not grandfathered into the college.
The website, wearenhpc.ca was visited 2,008 times in 2018.
The NHPC continued its partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® Northern Alberta (RMHCNA) in the Rejuvenate Program. This program provides families who are supporting sick and injured children the opportunity to promote their well-being through self-care activities.
Several dedicated NHPC practitioners volunteered holistic health treatments to families staying at the House. The feedback from staff and clients has been overwhelmingly positive.
A new website feature was also introduced in 2018 where non-profit wellness organizations can post free ads to recruit volunteers.
In 2018, the communications team began building a photo library to use in marketing and on social media. The NHPC will feature its practitioners in real workplace settings when it promotes the Association to the public.
NHPC staff photographed nine members who specialize in various holistic health practices. Members across Canada were also invited to share photos of themselves at work.
This initiative will be continued into 2019.
Health Provider Directory
The Health Provider Directory is a searchable database that the public can use to find an NHPC practitioner in their area or nation-wide. At the end of 2018, there were almost 3,000 practitioners listed in the directory.
Holistic Health Guide
The Holistic Health Guide features all of the Association's recognized holistic health practices and provides history, definitions, treatment details, and reasons to explore the practices.
It continues to be hosted electronically on the website and is used often to educate the public and industry about NHPC recognized practices. Several treatments also have links to video demonstrations.
The NHPC's strong online presence raises public and industry awareness of holistic health and promotes the NHPC member community. The website serves as a comprehensive and user-friendly resource for information on membership and holistic health practices.
In 2018, the NHPC website was visited 150,484 times. Traffic to the website from Facebook increased by more than 65 per cent from 2016. Website visits from Google searches increased by 33.4 per cent.
The NHPC blog covers a variety of topics related to the holistic health industry in Canada. In 2018, the Association posted 15 articles.
The NHPC uses a variety of social media platforms to promote the benefits of holistic health to the public and its members. Engagement with the Association's social media tools at the end of 2018 was as follows: