Frequently Asked Questions

On The Road To Regulation

What is the purpose of legislation?

  • To protect the public. 
  • Members of the public will be ensured that anyone calling themselves a Massage Therapist or a Registered Massage Therapist is a member in good standing of the SCMT (Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapy), which will be the regulator of massage therapists when the legislation moves forward.

Why did MTAS put forward a request to the Government for self-regulation?

  • MTAS has been working towards regulation of the Massage Therapy Profession for over twenty years as the association believes that there is a public protection issue. 
  • Saskatchewan Massage Therapist Association (SMTA), London and Counties Society of Physiologists Canadian Branch (LSCP) and Provincial Society of Remedial Massage Therapists (PSRMT) merged in 1996 in order to work together to better serve their members.  This included adherence to specific educational standards, and to pursue legislation with the Saskatchewan Government.

Is this proposed legislation exclusive to MTAS members only?

  • No.  Membership in the SCMT would be available to anyone who meets the requirements as determined by the SCMT. 

Will the Government be able to set my fee rates and work hours when massage therapy becomes regulated?

  • It should be noted that the Government typically leaves the overseeing of the day-to-day affairs of a self-regulating profession to the regulator.  Therefore, the government will not be setting work hours, fees, etc. for massage therapists.
  • Compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) will be mandated to ensure the confidentiality and security of health care information.  This is already a current policy of the MTAS, so there would be no change to your current practice.

Will I have to write another exam?

  • It is expected that all applicants will have to go through an assessment process for entry into the Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapy (SCMT).
  • No - if you are a massage therapist coming from another regulated province.  Further, any non-MTAS member who has written and mastered a recognized Board exam would not have to write the College qualifying exam.
  • It is expected that therapists who have not mastered an entry to practice exam, have obtained a minimum of 2,200 hours of massage therapy education, and who belong to other massage therapy associations, will be required to go through an assessment process prior to acceptance into the SCMT.
  • CPLA (Credential and Prior Learning Assessments) will be available to those who do not meet the minimum 2,200 hour educational requirement.   Further details will be posted when the process is fully developed in consultation with the stakeholders in Saskatchewan.
  • Therapists who choose not to write the entrance exam can continue a career in the wellness field; however it will be against the law for them to use the protected designation ‘Registered Massage Therapist’, use the acronym ‘RMT’, or use the term massage therapy/massage therapist.

Why do I have to write an entry to practice exam if I have gone to an accredited school?

  • Before a massage therapist can become registered to practice massage therapy in Saskatchewan, he/she must successfully complete the entry to practice exam administered by the Saskatchewan College of Massage Therapy. The entry to practice examination evaluates whether a candidate for registration with the College has the competency expected to consistently provide safe, ethical and effective massage therapy treatments.
  • There will be two components of the examination – the written multiple choice questionnaire and the oral-practical examination.

Will my membership fees increase when legislation goes forward?

  • There will be a fee to join the SCMT.  Those costs will be determined after the transitional committee meets, and an operational budget is determined.
  • The Association membership fees will not increase (unless approved by the membership at an AGM), and the Association will continue to provide liability insurance and other benefits to members.

Who is supporting ‘The Saskatchewan Massage Therapy Act’?

  • A strong majority of MTAS members are in favour of legislation.  The MTAS membership has continually been updated and informed since 2010 through President’s briefings, AGMs, Legislation Chair and Executive Director Reports.
  • The MTAS has petitioned and corresponded with the other 26 legislated professions in Saskatchewan.  There has been an overwhelming and positive response for our legislation proposal.

How does legislation relate to the Canada Revenue Agency?

  • Upon regulation, 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.

When will massage therapy treatments be exempt from the GST?

  • The Canadian Massage Therapist Association (CMTA) has been pursuing GST/HST exemption for the past few years. 
  • Currently, there is a national campaign for the public to support exemption of massage therapy nationally. 

What benefits on a national level are there with legislation in Saskatchewan?

  • 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.

Who writes the legislation?

MTAS has no part in the writing of legislation.  The legislation is written by the Ministry of Justice in consultation with the Ministry of Health.

The Act will:

  • Contain provisions with respect to the governing structure, membership in the professional body and membership on governing committees.
  • Provide title protection of Registered Massage Therapist, Massage Therapy, and Massage Therapist.
  • Determine the criteria and education required for entry to practice.
  • Develop and provide an entry to practice examination.
  • Include a complaints and discipline process that will include a prosecution mechanism for those who are engaged in unauthorized practice.
  • Provide a registration list that the public can access for members in good standing.

What is a Profession?

  • To adequately describe a profession it is best to look at the common characteristics of professions in general:
  • A profession is given official recognition through legislation, which protects the public from unauthorized practice, incompetent practice and professional misconduct.
  • A profession is a group that has a particular body of knowledge and practical skills that they preserve and develop.
  • Members are required to be educated in the knowledge of the discipline and trained in the skill before receiving full admission to the profession
  • A profession protects members of the public by controlling standards of admission, continuing education and codes of ethical conduct.
  • Members form confidential personal relationships with their clients for the purpose of protecting significant information and the interests of the client.
  • Clients of massage therapists may be in a crisis and are thus vulnerable and subject to substantial injury or harm if the service is incompetent.

From the therapist's perspective:

  • Legislation legitimizes the profession in the eyes of the public, the government, clients, insurers, and other professions.   In negotiations with insurers over professional fee structures, MTAS has been consistently reminded by their negotiators of the fact that they typically don’t negotiate with non-regulated organizations.
  • The choice to regulate is grounded in the ethics of professionalism.  The essence of professionalism is the establishment of a trusting relationship with the client.  This relationship is based on the application of a body of knowledge and skill to provide services in the best interest of the client.  The integrity of this body of knowledge and skill is established and maintained by the standards of admission and competence of members.  These standards are determined by the profession as a whole and applied to all its members.
  • The successful application of these standards is central to the image, reputation and professional recognition of the profession.  In other words, the status of a profession in the view of the public, clients, insurers, government, and other professions is directly related to the ability of the profession to get all its members to adhere to professional ethics, standards and scopes of practice.  This is a difficult task without the support of regulating legislation.  Not insomuch as members require discipline, but rather that the groups outside the profession see it as vital.  This is particularly true in health care where all other professions are regulated.
  • Regulating legislation enhances the professions ability to maintain high professional standards, which in turn engenders public confidence in the utility of professional services and makes the establishment of trusting relationships with all parties more efficient.

From the client's perspective:

  • Clients deserve professional services, and they want a relationship where the massage therapist is committed to a health care outcome.
  • The client expects a professional who is competent in their skills and education and who has integrity in all their dealings with them.
  • Clients will seek effective treatment and have an expectation of professional standards, client confidentiality, and a code of ethics.
  • The public image and reputation of a profession has a direct relationship to the professions ability to ensure these standards.

What are the Consequences of Self-Regulation?

For the Government:

  • Passing legislation granting self-regulation to a profession is probably the most efficient way for a government to carry out its responsibility to ensure public and third party safety.
  • Self-regulation creates title protection for trained professionals who meet the College entry to practice.

For the client:

  • Self-regulation ensures that professional services required by clients are regulated by a code of ethics and professional standards.
  • The legislation will be an official recognition from the Saskatchewan Government, and Massage Therapy would subsequently be regarded as a legitimate health care provider.
  • Massage Therapy would be recognized by other health care providers

The Transitional Steering Committee would be tasked to undertake and carry out the duties and responsibilities required under legislation.  These responsibilities may be grouped as follows:

  • To establish a governing structure in accordance with the legislation.
  • To adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards that would include criteria for admission, continuing education, establish and maintain a registry, developing a complaints and discipline procedure.
  • To ensure that members of the profession follow the code of ethics and professional standards developed by the profession.
  • To ensure a fair and just application of the powers granted by self-regulation.

Failure to carry out just and equitable application of this power may result in two direct consequences for the profession:

  • First, a failure to perform duties may result in an appeal or a judicial review of decisions at the request of those affected by the decisions.
  • Second, the misapplication of power might result in a lawsuit for damage or loss caused to a member or others.

An association must effectively enforce its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, or it will risk losing its public mandate (legislation granting self-regulation).