2019 Annual Report
NHPC 30th Anniversary Logo

2019 Annual Report

The NHPC Community

The NHPC is the largest holistic health organization across the country, representing over 6,500 holistic health professionals. It is proud of the sense of community shared with members as it continues to grow in jurisdictions across Canada.

The NHPC recognizes over 60 holistic health practices that many Canadians now adopt in their health journeys. Holistic treatments have grown significantly in recognition, often complementing traditional health treatments.

Many NHPC members practise more than one treatment type and are highly skilled in offering treatments that attract and retain loyal clients.

The Association champions the professional excellence of its members and their treatments. It has a strong tradition of high professional standards, and it 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 their holistic health practices.

Members of the NHPC enjoy:

  • competitive insurance rates
  • coverage for malpractice and commercial general liability insurance nationwide, regardless of where they work
  • access to a staff of 19 industry and business professionals, including a dedicated advisor to answer questions about managing their practice and clients
  • a strong social media presence showcasing NHPC holistic health practices and members

Members also have access to a variety of group discounts, networking and learning opportunities, timely member communications, and many other benefits.

Board President's Report

Pete Swales, NHPC Board President

Message from Pete Swales, NHPC President

2019 was my second year as President of the Board of Directors.

Serving our members in this way has been a significant step in my journey as a holistic health professional, and it has earned me new friends and highly esteemed colleagues.

We, the Board, are proud of the Association’s many accomplishments in 2019.

The volunteers who make up the NHPC Board are elected from different provinces across Canada and practise a variety of holistic health practices.

2019 Board of Directors
Back Row (left to right):
Nikki Spence, Winnipeg, MB – Director
Shauna Schofield, Winnipeg MB – Vice-President
Paulla Schmidt, Calgary AB – Director
Alison Adams, Whitehorse, YT – Director
Allyson Billey, Edmonton, AB – Director

Front Row (left to right):
Sharon Bell, Barrhead, AB – Treasurer
Pete Swales, Red Deer, AB – President
Tanya Wagner, Saskatoon, SK – Secretary

The Board met four times in 2019 — twice in person and twice via webinar. This has proved to be the best mix of conducting business in person (in building relationships) and online (saving time and money).

The NHPC hosted seven in-person and five online webinar member meetings known as Connections Cafes.

I have attended a number of these meetings and thank our members for connecting with us. The input we received has been valuable in our planning and in improving what we can provide our members.

The following committees met throughout the year:

  • Leadership Committee
  • Credentials Committee
  • Continued Competency Program Committee
  • Sanction Committee
  • Bylaw Review Committee
  • Professional Assessment and Compensation Review Committee (PACR)
  • Awards Committee
Paul Buffel
Paul Buffel, Life Membership Award recipient

The member volunteers who serve on these committees cannot be thanked enough. Their expertise has contributed significantly to the professionalism of the NHPC and its contribution to the holistic health community.

For three years, the Board has presented awards to outstanding members, who were nominated by their peers. In 2019, the Life Membership Award was presented to Paul Buffel from Saskatoon, SK.

He joins former award recipients:

Melanie Hayden and Todd Lorentz
Melanie Hayden, President's Award recipient, and Todd Lorentz, Life Membership Award recipient
Michelle Huszar
Michele Huszar, President's Award recipient
Lesley Baartman
Lesley Baartman, Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient

I will always have great memories and have been able to make contributions I could not have otherwise made. My personal thanks to all our volunteers and to the staff who continually demonstrate excellence.

Chief Executive Officer's Report

Message from Tendai Nzuma, NHPC CEO and Registrar

Tendai Nzuma, NHPC Chief Executive Officer

In the summer of 2019, the NHPC distributed a member survey across Canada.  Our sincere thanks to those who took the time to share their ideas and thoughts. They have been reflected in some of the enhancements we have made to our member services and continue to shape our development going forward.

We have been pleased to see the continued loyalty of our members in all holistic health practices by exceeding our membership retention goal of 90 per cent!

We are always conscious of our responsibilities in serving our members, and we continually seek and implement new opportunities to add value. For example, we grew our discount provider network in 2019 from 11 to 17 discount providers.

One of our highest value benefits is the services of the Practice Management Team. In 2019, they were contacted 675 times, a significant increase from the year before.

This team was able to help members and the public solve problems and answer questions. The top topics addressed by the team included:

  • questions from massage therapy members working in regulated provinces
  • ownership of client files
  • liability insurance coverage for other modalities
  • scope of practice for massage therapy
  • record keeping standards

Through the Complaints Resolution Process, the NHPC is committed to ensuring that members practise in a safe, effective, and ethical manner.

The Ethics Committee was established to support the Chief Executive Officer under Article 10 of the Bylaws. It provides subject matter expertise and recommendations for the resolution of complaints.

Another highly successful service for our members is our advocacy work with governments and industry. The NHPC continues to advocate for regulation of massage therapy in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. 

The remainder of this report will further detail some of the NHPC's many accomplishments in 2019. It has been rewarding working with the Board of Directors as we continue to build on this strong foundation.

Operations Reports

2019 Management Team
Left to Right: Elaine Sutton (Communications and Marketing), Candace Pichonsky (Practice Competency), Paul Donovan (Industry Relations), Ibukun Adewusi (Education and Events), Kathy Watson (Government Relations), and Bo Li (Membership and Credentials)

Complaints Resolution

Highlights from Anna Agnieszka

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 2019. An interim suspension or condition was placed on two of the members.

The nature of the complaints included:

  • malpractice (unskilled practice/negligence)
  • professional misconduct (touch/boundary/consent)
  • personal misconduct (attitude/respect/confidentiality)
  • business misconduct (fraudulent or negligent billing/recordkeeping)

At the end of 2019, 10 files had been closed and 22 active files remained open in various stages of the process.

The Ethics Committee (EC)

Resulting from the Complaints Resolution Task Force's review of Bylaw Article 10, a provisional peer review committee was established by the Board of Directors. The Ethics Committee (EC), chaired by Director Alison Adams, consists of four members appointed to the committee by the Board.

The EC completed robust two-day training in March 2019 on Article 10 and the function of the Complaints Resolution Process.

In 2019, the EC's work included:

  • five committee meetings
  • approximately 30 hours of volunteer time dedicated per member
  • review of 12 complaints and recommendations on the appropriate  disposition of each complaint

The EC experienced a successful first year of operation in 2019. The Board will vote on establishing the EC as a standing committee of the Board in 2020.

Practice Management

Highlights from Candace Pichonsky

The goal of the Practice Management Team is to provide leadership, support, and direction to practitioners and to ensure safe and skillful practice.

In 2019, the team was contacted for information related to a variety of subjects, including standards of practice for massage therapy, business practices, and employment matters.

Practice Advice

Throughout the year the Practice Management Team assisted members in matters of:

  • general business practices for sole proprietors
  • avoiding workplace conflict by having contracts and policies in place
  • record-keeping and client file management
  • establishing treatment goals and obtaining informed consent

Industry Advice

The Practice Management Team is often contacted by members of the public with questions about standards of practice and what to expect when receiving a holistic health treatment.

It provides information to the insurance industry about the standards NHPC members are held to. This work is essential to position holistic practitioners as vital providers of health care in Canada.

The NHPC visits massage therapy schools across the country to educate students and faculty on the holistic health industry, the professional responsibilities of working as a massage therapist, and what is expected of NHPC members.

Ethics Advice

The Practice Competency Manager provides educational opportunities to members through workshops offered in-person and online. The workshop topic presented at the 2019 Annual General Meeting was on professionalism, highlighting common mistakes practitioners make that could cost them clients.

These workshops provided members the opportunity to complete the ethics portion of their Continued Competency Program (CCP) requirements free of charge.


The Practice Management Team provides support to members who are in the complaints resolution process by providing remediation in record keeping.

Membership and Credentials

Highlights from Bo Li

Discount Provider Program

The Association has negotiated special rates for its members with the following providers:

Aetheric Essentials

  • AMA
  • ATB Financial
  • Breath for Life
  • CustomCare
  • Economical Insurance
  • Edmonton Recreation Centers
  • GoodLife
  • KuSU
  • Manupractic Institute
  • Perkopolis
  • Petro-Canada
  • Second Chance CPR and First Aid
  • SOAP Vault
  • Specialized Benefits

Membership Renewal

The NHPC exceeded its membership renewal goal of 90 per cent in 2019. The Association is honoured to serve members who show such loyalty, and it motivates us to continue to provide superior membership value.

Membership Recruitment

We are always pleased to welcome new members. 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 schools
NHPC 2019 volunteer treatment at tradeshow
An NHPC member providing treatment at a tradeshow.

In 2019, the NHPC visited 28 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.

Staff participated in two high profile tradeshows, showcasing NHPC practitioners from a range of modalities, including Thai massage, Brain Gym™, Rolfing® structural integration, craniosacral therapy, and others. A special thanks to these members who volunteered their time to educate and advocate for holistic health.

Massage Therapy Membership Recruitment

To maintain high professional standards, the NHPC Board of Directors approved the following changes to membership criteria for massage therapists:

  • Effective January 1, 2019, the NHPC no longer recognized new massage therapy programs that offered 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 were not affected by this change.

Modality Standards

Throughout 2019, the Association reviewed its modality standards to ensure they were current.

Massage Therapy Regulation

Highlights from Kathy Watson

There have been both setbacks and progress in advancing massage therapist regulation across Canada. Each province has its own unique set of circumstances.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island, the College of Massage Therapists was formed. , and massage therapists in good standing with their associations transitioned into the College.

Nova Scotia

In 2019, the Nova Scotia government passed the Title Protection of Massage Therapists Act as an interim measure while still working toward regulation legislation.

The new Act assists the government in protecting the public against offenders who are not legitimate massage therapists.

In January 2020, NHPC massage therapy members who successfully complete a Declaration to show compliance with certain standards will be listed in a public registry on the NHPC website.


Documents required in the Manitoba Workbook were completed in 2019 and presented to the Manitoba government.

The Workbook includes recommendations for how scope of practice, reserved acts, general regulation, and standards of practice will be written for the professional health practice of massage therapy under the Manitoba Regulated Health Professions Act.

However, there are six applications for regulation waiting to be processed ahead of massage therapists, which impacts the timeline for presenting it to the government.


In Saskatchewan, the massage therapy member associations agreed on a draft of the Act to Regulate Massage Therapists that allows all members in good standing with their association to transition into the College.

The legislation was postponed and did not appear on the agenda of the fall legislative session. The next step is to work toward rescheduling it for the fall session of the 2020 legislative session.


Throughout 2019, he Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta (TCCMTA) continued to work toward legislation to regulate massage therapists under the Alberta Health Professions Act. 

The TCCMTA looks forward to making headway with regulation during the coming year.

Insurance Relations

Highlights from Paul Donovan

Industry Awareness and Collaboration

Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA)

In May 2019, the NHPC attended the annual Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Claims and Anti-fraud Conference in Vancouver, BC, for the fifth consecutive year.

It was a positive opportunity to educate the insurance industry on the benefits of holistic health practices and to network with other conference delegates.

This relationship-building and advocacy work on behalf of NHPC members continues to pave the way for future advocacy efforts.

NHPC Webinar to Insurance Companies

In July 2019, the NHPC presented an interactive webinar to insurance companies on various topics, including:

  • an overview of the Association
  • NHPC massage therapy standards
  • the role of the Practice Management department
  • the Complaints Resolution Process
  • the current status of massage therapist regulation across Canada

Thirty-eight representatives from 20 different insurers participated in the webinar, providing positive feedback on the topics. The NHPC will continue to provide webinars to insurers on relevant topics and issues in the industry.

Tendai Nzuma and Paul Donovan at the 2019 RAC conference
Tendai Nzuma and Paul Donovan at the 2019 RAC conference.


In April 2019, the NHPC was invited to participate in the Reflexology Conference (held by the Reflexology Association of Canada) in Halifax, NS.

The NHPC networked with attendees and other reflexology organizations as well as participated in their panel discussion on 'The Future of Reflexology'. The NHPC will continue to collaborate with reflexology organizations across Canada on common goals related to the profession and advocacy work.

Tendai Nzuma and Paul Donovan at the Reflexology Conference

Sun Life Financial

The NHPC collaborated with Sun Life Financial on their health innovation platform, Lumino Health. The Association provided input and feedback to its Provider Search Network and contributed to their health articles "How to Travel Pain-Free" and "Are Standing Desks Good for You?". The Association will continue to collaborate with Sun Life Financial and other insurance companies on health-related topics.

Member Eligibility

Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP)

The NHPC began an initiative  to recognize NHPC reflexology in the ASEBP benefits plan.

The Association engaged its reflexology members in Alberta to encourage their ASEBP clients to submit written requests for coverage of their services. ASEBP will consider the inclusion of reflexology coverage in their plan design changes, pending Trustee and Board approval in 2020.

Manitoba Blue Cross

The Association made great strides in advocating for holistic health practices outside of massage therapy. NHPC reflexologists are now eligible providers for Manitoba Blue Cross private benefit plans that include reflexology coverage.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance and Workers' Compensation Board

In 2019, the NHPC continued 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

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 offer continued education that practitioners can complete from home at their own pace.

In 2019, for the first time, the NHPC produced two online video modules. These included the NHPC ethics modules on the following topics:

Webinars allow members to learn with peers and interact with presenters in real-time, regardless of their location. In 2019, more than 500 members participated in six live webinars. Topics included:

  • Cannabis and Your Practice
  • The Business of Massage
  • AonDirect for NHPC members
  • Occupational Health and Safety Practices if Working Alone
  • How to Protect Your Cells from Oxidative Stress- A Silent Root Cause
  •  Please Pass the Calm

The NHPC also partnered with professional speakers to facilitate 16 in-person workshops in several cities, including: Saskatoon, SK; Winnipeg, MB; East Coulee, AB; Stettler, AB; Red Deer, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; and Calgary, AB. Topics included:

  • The Healing Connection between the Energy Body and the Physical Body
  • Myofascial Cupping Techniques - Level One
  • Professional Cupping Therapies
  • Advanced Cupping for Myofascial Release
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Everyday Clinical Practice - Level One

Connections Cafes

NHPC Connections Cafes were held in-person and online across the country throughout the year. They were a great opportunity to update members on the latest industry and association news as well as to gain insights into member needs and hear their ideas.

In 2019, the NHPC hosted seven in-person and five online member meetings, with over 400 members in attendance.

A one-hour Practice Management workshop, titled Ten Mistakes Practitioners Make, was presented at all Connections Cafes either in-person or through pre-recorded video. Calgary, AB, was the exception with the Stand By - Domestic Violence Response Preparation for Massage Therapists workshop.

The NHPC piloted the first hosted webinar Connections Cafe in Whitehorse, YT, where members gathered in one location to exchange ideas and participate together in the online meeting.

NHPC National Conference

NHPC conferences deliver high-quality workshops hosted by world-class presenters on a variety of holistic health topics. In 2019, the conference, themed Breaking the Walls in Health: A Holistic Perspective, was held in Calgary, AB, from May 24 to 26, in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting.

Highlights of the conference included an ethics workshop, the NHPC tradeshow, and a gala dinner, dance, and keynote presentation.

Over three days, 15 speakers offered a total of 21 workshops covering several NHPC recognized modalities. Two hundred and seventy-four delegates attended the 2019 conference.

2019 conference tradeshow
NHPC's 2019 Conference tradeshow.

Communications and Marketing

Highlights from Elaine Sutton

Member Communications

The NHPC communicates with members through email, telephone, social media, and member meetings, such as Connections Cafes and the Annual General Meeting. 

The 2019 Annual General Meeting, held in Calgary, AB, added the convenience of online participation. We had a higher level of participation this year, with 317 members participating in person and another 185 participating online.

2019 Annual General Meeting audience
The audience at NHPC's 2019 Annual General Meeting.

Updates on Association initiatives are delivered by email twice per month through the NHPC News. The newsletter provides members with information about regulation, upcoming courses, practice management tips, industry highlights, and more.

In 2019, the NHPC maintained a high average open rate of 55 per cent for both member emails and NHPC News.

Public Awareness


The NHPC continued to advertise in the Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, and Winnipeg International Airports in 2019.

Manitoba Airport Ad
Winnipeg airport ad for NHPC members.

In readiness for the 2019 fall term, the Association placed an ad in the MacEwan University student handbook, a sought-after publication delivered to over 8,000 students.

Volunteer Opportunities

NHPC volunteers have contributed complimentary treatments to residents at Ronald McDonald House Edmonton for three years. This program provides families who are supporting sick and injured children the opportunity to support their well-being through self-care activities.

The NHPC also provides free advertising on the website  to non-profit wellness organizations can so they can recruit volunteers.

Photo of Thai massage in action
A photo library entry showing Thai massage.
Photo Library

Last year the NHPC continued to visit practitioners to populate its photo library to use in marketing and social media. This allows the NHPC to feature its practitioners in real workplace settings when it promotes the Association to the public.

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 2019, 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.

In 2019, it continued to be hosted electronically on the website and was often used to educate the public and industry about NHPC recognized holistic health practices. Several practices 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 2019, the NHPC website was visited 150,157 times. Users referred from Facebook increased by 27 per cent and visits from Facebook increased by 45 per cent.

Google search results increased visits to blog articles to nearly 5,000 and massage therapy regulation content to about 4,500; these are significant increases from the previous year.

Social Media

NHPC blogs cover a variety of topics related to the holistic health industry in Canada. The NHPC often involves its members in developing content and showcasing their expertise. In 2019, 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 2019 was as follows:

  • Over 10,000 Facebook likes, a four per cent increase in likes from December 2018
  • About 1,700 followers on Instagram, a 47 per cent increase from December 2018
  • 171 YouTube subscribers

Plans to re-establish a LinkedIn presence began in 2019, so it could be added to this mix in 2020.

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