Massage Therapy regulation in Canadian provinces has come a long way since it began over a century ago! That being said, Massage Therapy is still regulated differently in the various provinces across Canada. We’ve highlighted some key moments in Massage Therapy regulation history to illustrate how far we’ve come as a profession.
The Early Years
In 1919, Ontario became the first province to regulate the practice of Massage. The scope of Massage Therapy was then refined and standardized in 1935 under the Drugless Practitioners Act. Shortly afterwards, in 1946, Massage became regulated in British Columbia under the Physiotherapy Act. These scattered provincial regulatory changes would continue over the next half century.
There were significant trend-setting regulatory changes for Massage Therapy education in the 1990s. In 1991, the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) was passed and the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario was born. This association created a new standard of regulation that would inspire other provinces across the country. “When the industry became regulated, it gave more credibility to the profession”, said alum and RMT Joan Mailing. “The amalgamation with the RHPA was an important stepping stone.”
Then, in 1995, British Columbia introduced legislation that designated Massage Therapy as a profession in its own right, removing it from the umbrella of the Physiotherapy Act of 1946. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia was created to standardize massage college curriculum and professional practice in BC.
In 2002, Newfoundland and Labrador followed the lead of Ontario and BC and passed the Massage Therapy Act. This led to the creation of the College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2005.
New Brunswick formed its own College in 2013, adopting the professional standardization of the other 3 regulated provinces. In many ways, these provinces work separately but together. They each accept the credentials of massage therapists from other regulated provinces, making it easy for RMTs trained in regulated provinces to take their skills with them as they relocate across the country.
Though several provinces do not yet have regulatory colleges, there are well recognized associations for trained RMTs to join in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. These organizations have their own established standards of training and education which are respected and recognized widely in Canada.
Though provincial regulation currently exists in only four provinces in Canada, there is a desire in the massage therapy community for national regulation. The Federation of Massage Therapy Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FOMTRAC) is working on an action plan for achieving this goal through the Canadian Massage Therapy Counsel for Accreditation (CMTCA). The CMTCA is hard at work creating a new accreditation process to standardize education programs across the country.
What were the regulatory standards in your province when you studied Massage? We’d love to hear more about what Massage Therapy was like when you were in school!
CCMH has offered outstanding Massage Therapy education in Canada since 1946. If you are interested in learning more about CCMH, follow us on Facebook. If you’d like an opportunity to visit our campus, email us at [email protected]