How Regulation Protects the Public

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Here are just a few examples of how a College of Massage Therapists protects the public:

  • Professional Conduct – If you have a concern or complaint about the Massage Therapy treatment you received from a registrant, you can initiate a complaint with the College for formal investigation through the complaints process. As well, Massage Therapists (and their employers) are obligated to make certain mandatory reports relating to abuse of clients, employment terminations due to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, offenses, negligence, malpractice and child abuse, which become part of the Public Register.
  • Registration – With legislation, a College would be responsible for ensuring that potential registrants meet the educational requirements and standards of qualification to become registered and practice Massage Therapy in Saskatchewan. The Standards would be compliant with the Inter-jurisdictional Competency and Practice documents of the four legislated provinces. (This document was developed to comply with the Agreement on Internal Trade). A College handles initial registration and entry to practice, as well as annual registration.
  • Competency/Education – A College’s continuing education program promotes continuing competence and continuing quality improvement among the registrants, addresses changes in practice environments, develops standards of practice, and incorporates advances in technology and changes made to entry to practice competencies and other concerns relating to registrants’ practices.
  • Client Relations – A College could mandate a Client Relations Committee that would work with concerns relating to the therapist-client relationship, ensuring that clients receive safe and ethical, client-centred healthcare. Central to this function is the prevention of all forms of abuse.
  • Discipline – Through a transparent discipline process that is accessible to the public, a College deals in a fair and just manner with any registrant who has contravened the standards of practice or committed an act of professional misconduct.

The public can have confidence in the knowledge that only registrants of the College – regulated, highly-trained health professionals – can use the protected title RMT and promote themselves as a Registered Massage Therapist.

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March 7/16   MTAS Backgrounder:
The Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan (MTAS) is dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of the profession of massage therapy and to the protection of the public.  We are a self-regulating non-profit organization consisting of over 800 registered massage therapists. In order to join MTAS, massage therapy graduates in Saskatchewan must have a minimum education level of 2,200 hours. New graduates and therapists from other provinces must pass written and practical Member Qualifying Exams in order to become a practicing member of MTAS. Members have an obligation to earn continuing education credits, to follow a detailed code of ethics and standards of practice, and to carry malpractice and liability insurance.

Properly trained and accredited Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) possess indepth anatomical knowledge and have the skills to bring beneficial effects to many of the body’s systems – from the skeletal structure and muscular system, to the respiratory, lymphatic and even the digestive system. RMTs are a member of the healthcare team and should be regulated in the same manner as other healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, doctors and dentists.

MTAS has been working towards regulation of the Massage Therapy profession for over fifteen years, as the association believes that there is a public protection issue.  Because massage therapists in Saskatchewan are not regulated, there are no provincial standards in place regarding massage therapist qualification or clinic operation. MTAS strongly believes the public has the right to the guarantee that Saskatchewan RMTs are properly trained and answer to a recognized regulatory body.

MTAS’ main concern is public safety. Currently, the lack of a regulatory body means massage therapists can continue to practice without recourse if they harm a client in any manner. MTAS believes the implementation of a regulatory college, provincial standards and public protection is long overdue.
In order to achieve these goals, MTAS is calling for the passage of legislation to establish the Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapy (SCMT).
The proposed Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapists would protect the public in four important areas:

Professional Conduct
The College would establish extensive and thorough guidelines to set standards of competence, deal promptly with complaints and address concerns relating to the therapist-patient relationship, and ensure ethical, client-focused healthcare.
Registration
The College would be responsible for registering practitioners in Saskatchewan on an annual basis, ensuring that educational requirements have been met, and for overseeing all aspects of professional conduct reviews, disciplinary measures and public reporting.
Education and Competence
Through government legislation, the College will monitor the competence of the Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), develop standards of professional and clinical practice, and adhere to the national standards of practice competency and performance indicators in massage therapy.

It is important to note as well that the passage of legislation would not mean the government would set the fees or work hours for massage therapists in
Saskatchewan. Government typically leaves the overseeing of the day-to-day affairs of self-regulating profession to the regulator.
Regulation of massage therapists in Saskatchewan would have a number of practical benefits as well:
- Upon legislation, once the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is notified, patients will be able to claim their massage therapy treatments as a medical expense on their annual tax return.
- A health profession in Canada can be exempted from GST if it is legislated in five (5) provinces or territories. Saskatchewan would become the fifth (5th)
province legislated. This will allow the profession to apply for GST/HST exemption.
- RMTs belonging to the SCMT will be allowed to work in other legislated provinces without having to write another exam. Through legislation, the
profession will move towards common national standards.
- When legislation is achieved at a provincial level, unification, strength, sustainability and growth of the profession are increased at the national
level. The national insurers (Blue Cross, Great West Life, Sun Life, etc.) look towards these legislated provinces for practice standards to validate their
insurance payments to their clients.

In the spring of 2015, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health released a draft of the Massage Therapy Act, influenced in part by MTAS recommendations. In order to make regulation of Saskatchewan massage therapists a reality, this legislation simply needs to be introduced and passed into law. In August of 2015, the Ministry of Health stated more consultations are being done before any decisions are made on moving the legislation forward.  

Currently, four Canadian provinces have legislation in place to regulate massage therapists: British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. The Government of Manitoba is strongly considering regulation in that province as well.


March 7/16    Questions for your MLA

  • Are you aware that the massage therapy profession in Saskatchewan is not currently regulated?
  • Do you believe there is a need to protect the public through the implementation of massage therapy regulation legislation?
  • Do you believe massage therapists in Saskatchewan should need to meet a certain qualification/education standard in order to practice?
  • Have you ever used the services of a massage therapist? Would you feel more safe and secure knowing they had to meet a certain qualification/education standard?
  • Do you believe massage therapists are members of the healthcare field just as other regulated health professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropractors are?
  • Do you support legislation to regulate massage therapists in Saskatchewan?
  • If elected/re-elected, will you commit to introducing regulation legislation (The Massage Therapy Act) that’s already been drafted by the Ministry of Health? Why or why not?

March 7/16    Facts to Present to Candidates

FACT 1:  Massage therapists are not regulated in Saskatchewan, though the profession is regulated in four other provinces and Manitoba is seriously considering regulation as well.

FACT 2: MTAS is a self-regulating non-profit organization consisting of over 815 registered massage therapists in Saskatchewan. In order to join MTAS, massage therapy graduates in Saskatchewan must have a minimum education level of 2,200 hours. New graduates and therapists from other provinces must pass written and practical Member Qualifying Exams in order to become a member of MTAS.

FACT 3: RMTs are members of the healthcare team. Other health professionals such as chiropractors and physiotherapists ARE regulated and MTAS would like massage therapists to be regulated in the same way.

FACT 4:  Massage therapists often work on clients with aches, pains and injuries. In-depth anatomical knowledge and training is essential for massage therapists to understand the body, its muscle groups and systems. This knowledge and training enables massage therapists not only to provide effective treatment, but also to avoid causing injury or harm. Massage therapists have the skills to bring beneficial effects to many of the body’s systems – from the skeletal structure and muscular system, to the respiratory, lymphatic and even the digestive system.

FACT 5: MTAS is calling for the passage of legislation to establish The Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapy (SCMT). SCMT would implement guidelines to set standards of competence in the industry such as:

Professional Conduct: The College would establish extensive and thorough guidelines to set standards of competence, deal promptly with complaints and address concerns relating to the therapist-patient relationship, and ensure ethical, client-focused healthcare.

Registration: The College would be responsible for registering practitioners in Saskatchewan on an annual basis, ensuring that educational requirements have been met, and for overseeing all aspects of professional conduct reviews, disciplinary measures and public reporting.

Education and Competence: Through government legislation, the College will monitor the competence of the Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), develop standards of professional and clinical practice, and adhere to the national standards of practice competency and performance indicators in massage therapy.

FACT 7: There are a number of practical benefits to regulation, such as:

  • Upon legislation, once the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is notified, patients will be able to claim their massage therapy treatments as a medical expense on their annual tax return.
  • A health profession in Canada can be exempted from GST if it is legislated in five (5) provinces or territories. Saskatchewan would become the fifth (5th) province legislated.  This will allow the profession to apply for GST/HST exemption.
  • RMTs belonging to the SCMT will be allowed to work in other legislated provinces without having to write another exam.  Through legislation, the profession will move towards common national standards.
  • When legislation is achieved at a provincial level, unification, strength, sustainability and growth of the profession are increased at the national level.  The national insurers (Blue Cross, Great West Life, Sun Life, etc.) look towards these legislated provinces for practice standards to validate their insurance payments to their clients.

FACT 8: The Ministry of Health has already drafted legislation to regulate massage therapists.  The Ministry released a draft of The Massage Therapy Act in the spring of 2015, influenced in part by MTAS recommendations. All that’s left now is for the legislation to be introduced and passed into law.

FACT 9: Public protection is the key issue here. MTAS members strongly believe the public has a right to the guarantee that massage therapists are properly trained and answer to a recognized regulatory body.