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Massage Therapy Regulation

Regulation of a health profession is how governments, through legislation, protect the public from unqualified or unsafe health care providers. Legislation leads to defining and regulating competency, which demands safe, professional treatment supported by a complaints process.

Regulation occurs through a government appointed panel, called a College of Massage Therapy or Therapists, which protects the public from harm and verifies the qualifications of massage therapist registrants.

The College has strict rules and protocols to support safety and to determine the competencies of its registrants/members. The College also requires members to follow a code of ethics, standards of practice, and protection of title.


Background

Massage therapy regulation has become an important development in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. The NHPC is engaged with the provincial government in each of these provinces.

There will be subtle differences in each province because each must follow its own process for health legislation.


What is the NHPC's Role in Regulation?

With growing interest in the regulation of massage therapy, the NHPC consulted its massage therapist members in each unregulated province to determine if they support regulating as a health profession through the provincial government.

Massage therapy members from all unregulated provinces supported the regulation of massage therapists.


The Role of a Regulatory College

The responsibility of a College of Massage Therapists is to:

  • regulate the conduct of massage therapists through standards of practice and codes of ethics
  • act in the interest of the public by reducing risk of harm
  • provide a public record of practitioners who violate the College's Code of Ethics
  • maintain a public registry of all massage therapists in the provincial College
  • protect professional titles such as Registered Massage Therapist, RMT, and others

The College will have authority over the requirements for membership based on education and other factors. It will be responsible for managing the registry of practitioners and dealing with regulatory matters, including public complaints and investigating these complaints.


Grandfathering of Existing Massage Therapists into a College

As the College of Massage Therapists is forming, currently practising massage therapists will have their previous experience, education, or professional standing recognized for transitional entry into the College through grandfathering.

Historically, it was standard practice to grandfather massage therapists in regulated provinces into the College if they were professionals in good standing with an association.

Once the College takes over the regulatory responsibilities, transitional entry will no longer be an option. Instead, the government-appointed College of Massage Therapists will determine entry requirements.


The Role of the NHPC After a Provincial College is Formed

The NHPC will continue providing a variety of member services, including:

  • malpractice, liability, and contents insurance at preferred rates
  • access to extended health benefits and other discounted products and services
  • continued competency support
  • Canada-wide membership
  • relationship-building with Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) and other health professionals
  • government and college advocacy
  • industry relations and insurance advocacy
  • advocating to reform tax laws to benefit massage therapists and their clients
  • offering education courses to members


Regulatory Organizations in Canada

The Federation of Massage Therapy Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FOMTRAC)
College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO)
College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador (CMTNL)
College of Massage Therapists of New Brunswick (CMTNB)
College of Massage Therapists of Prince Edward Island (CMPEI)