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Massage Therapy Regulation in Alberta

Current Status (April 2020 Updates)

Regulation of massage therapists in Alberta has been a top priority for the NHPC for a number of years. In April 2020, the Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta (TC-CMTA) shared the following important updates.

Collaboration with the Certified Registered Massage Therapist Association (CRTMA)

In January 2020, the TC-CMTA met with representatives of the board of directors of the College of Registered Massage Therapists of Alberta (CRMTA). It was a successful and productive meeting, and the TC-CMTA expects to meet with the CRMTA again in the future to further discuss massage therapy regulation in Alberta.

Collaboration with the Alberta Ministry of Health

On March 4, representatives of the Board of Directors of the TC-CMTA attended a positive meeting with the Assistant Deputy Minister and senior administrative staff of the Alberta Ministry of Health. Alberta Health asked the TC-CMTA to complete the steps required to regulate massage therapists in the province.

The TC-CMTA will continue preparing for the potential introduction of legislation to regulate Alberta massage therapists. Through the Ministry of Health, the Government of Alberta has acknowledged TC-CMTA President as the lead representative for regulation of the profession.

The government has assured the Transitional Council that its application remains approved in principle and it is the only application the government is considering. The TC-CMTA will continue to work with the government to regulate the profession.

On April 1, 2020, the TC-CMTA Board of Directors met with the Director of Health Professions in Alberta. Over the coming months, the TC-CMTA will be working diligently on the tasks that have been prioritized.

Massage Therapist Association of Alberta Withdraws from TC-CMTA

Over the past three years, the NHPC, the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta (MTAA), and the Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Association (CMMOTA) have collaborated to make significant progress in forming a regulatory College through TC-CMTA activities. However, in April 2020, the MTAA chose to end their involvement with the Transitional Council.

In July 2019, following the unanimous approval of the 2019 Budget by the Board of Directors of the TC-CMTA, all three member associations agreed they would contribute equal membership dues of $7,500 to cover the budgeted operational costs of the TC-CMTA.

These dues were submitted by the NHPC and CMMOTA. The MTAA Board of Directors did not contribute its dues and asked for further information from the TC-CMTA Board of Directors. Between July and November 2019, the TC-CMTA supplied the requested information to the MTAA Board.

The TC-CMTA continued its work, anticipating that MTAA would pay their membership dues. Representatives of the MTAA remained at the table for six to seven months, until each of their representatives resigned from the TC-CMTA. The MTAA has not actively participated in any TC-CMTA work since December 18, 2019.

In February 2020, the TC-CMTA held an in-person Board-to-Board meeting with the MTAA to further clarify MTAA's outstanding membership dues and discuss resolution. Following that meeting, the MTAA Board of Directors made the decision to withdraw from the TC-CMTA. The withdrawal became official on April 4, 2020.

Continued Governmental Support for the TC-CMTA

Both the NHPC and CMMOTA remain fully committed to supporting the valuable work of the TC-CMTA and regulating massage therapy in Alberta. Alberta Health has assured the remaining TC-CMTA Board members, who are NHPC and CMMOTA representatives, that TC-CMTA's application will continue to move forward.


Background

In July of 2016, the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada, the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta, and the Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Association (formerly the Remedial Massage Therapists Association) formed a coalition to deliver a joint application for regulation to the government. The application outlined the transitional entry for practising therapists, costs to operate a College, standards of competency, etc.

The Associations also agreed on grandfathering criteria, which was included in the information sent to the Government of Alberta.

Working collectively, the Coalition began consulting their membership bases to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to share their views on each aspect of the proposed legislation.

In 2016, the Coalition formed the Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta in order to begin a more in-depth process that included:

  • consultation with other professional associations and lobby groups within Alberta
  • consultation with educational institutions offering massage therapy training programs in Alberta 
  • discussion with members of health care professions that have gone through the regulation process in hopes of easing challenges

These consultations and discussions concluded at the end of 2017.

For more information about the health professions act, the timeline of regulation in Alberta, or recent activities refer to the TC-CMTA.