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In 2006 the ARMTS, RMTA and MTAA submitted the “Application for Regulation of Massage Therapy Under The Alberta Health Professions Act, October 2006.” Early in 2009, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Mr. Liepert, advised the MTAA, RMTA and the NHPC that the Ministry is prepared to recommend to Cabinet that the Health Professions Act be amended to include Massage Therapy as a regulated profession.  Correspondence was issued that outlined that the Ministry was not prepared to recommend a multi-category entry to practice model but that the model for Massage Therapy regulation in Alberta is to be a single category model  and that education programs be a minimum of 2,200 hours. He further requested the formation of the Transitional Steering Committee (TSC).



Committee: group of members representing varied interests tasked with meeting a common goal through negotiation and compromise.

Transitional Steering Committee (TSC): a committee requested by the Minister in which each of the four massage associations in Alberta were to provide two members each in order to reach the common goal of regulation.

Problem: not all associations believe that regulation is in the best interest of their membership, and there for a consensus cannot be reached regardless of the representatives involved.

Document: suggested rules, regulations or procedures that are not passed into law. Application for Regulation of Massage Therapy Under The Alberta Health Professions Act, October 2006

Regulation: If Massage Therapists in Alberta choose to be regulated they would then fall under the rules of the Health Professions Act of Alberta

Currently regulated professions in Alberta

Act: rules or legislation that guide a process.

Health Professions Act of Alberta: guiding document for regulated health professions in Alberta.

Alberta regulates a number of health professions. The majority of these health professions are regulated by self-governing colleges under the Health Professions Act (HPA). All regulated health professions will eventually come under the HPA.

Governance under the Health Professions Act

Under the HPA, health professions are organized into regulatory bodies called “colleges.” These colleges are delegated powers and authorities for self-governance. Regulatory colleges are not post-secondary institutions.

The HPA requires that colleges carry out governance responsibilities in a manner that protects and serves the public interest. Health profession colleges do this by:

·       Setting entry requirements (including required education, practical training, and examinations);

·       Identifying services provided by regulated members, setting standards for professional practice;

·       Setting continuing competency requirements; and

·       Investigating complaints about regulated members and imposing disciplinary actions if required.

Regulatory colleges are not professional associations. Professional associations usually operate to represent the interests of their members and to advance the profession.

College: Would become the regulatory body for Massage Therapists. Regulatory colleges are not post-secondary institutions. There are no guidelines regarding who forms the college, or the guidelines for “grandfathering,” if there should be an entry to practice exam, or membership qualifications. These are all to be decided by the College. NO association or any other person or body can guarantee these criteria in advance.

There are currently 4 provinces in which massage therapists are regulated under the Health Act of their respective provinces and therefor have their own Colleges: 

  • British Columbia: College of Massage Therapists of B.C.,
  • Ontario: College of Massage Therapists of Ontario,
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador,
  • New Brunswick: College of Massage Therapists of New Brunswick,


Association: Regulatory colleges are not professional associations. Professional associations usually operate to represent the interests of their members and to advance the profession. Legislation does not address if a college has to have an association, how many associations there can be, or the requirements of membership.

There are four massage associations in Alberta:

  1. Remedial Massage Therapists Association (RMTA)
  2. Massage Therapist Association of Alberta (MTAA),
  3. Natural Health Care Practitioners of Canada (NHPC),
  4. Alberta Association of Therapeutic Masseurs (AATM),

In each of the 4 currently regulated provinces there is at least one Association as well as a College:

  • ·       Massage Therapists’ Association of British Columbia (MTABC) www.massagetherapy.bc
  • ·       Ontario Massage Therapist Association (OMTA)
  • ·       Newfoundland and Labrador Massage Therapists Association (NLMTA)
  • ·       Association of New Brunswick Massage Therapists (ANBMT)

Other provincial massage associations:

  • ·       Northwest Territories Massage Therapists Association (NTMTA)
  • ·       Massage Therapist  Association of Saskatchewan Inc. (MTAS)
  • ·       Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba (MTAM),
  • ·       Federation Quebecois des Massotherapeutes (FQM)
  • ·       Prince Edward Island Massage Therapy Association (PEIMTA)
  • ·       Massage Therapists’ Association of Nova Scotia (MTANS)

School: a post-secondary institution that trains massage therapists.

Recognized school: can mean either a school that is licensed to operate in a given province OR that its curriculum is accepted by a given entity. In Alberta, massage schools are licensed by the provincial government.

Most provinces have legislation under Education regarding the licensing of massage schools. Regulated colleges usually recognize diplomas from any licensed school, but require their own set of examinations as well.

B.C. (CMTBC): “In BC, a number of institutions offer massage therapy education programs. If you are planning to enroll in a BC massage therapy education program, with the goal of becoming a registered massage therapist (RMT), keep in mind that you will receive recognition only for programs offered by institutions that are registered with and accredited by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA)."

Ontario (CMTO): “Educational programmes are approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and lead to Registration with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and the right to use the protected titles “Massage Therapist” and “Registered Massage Therapist...The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario does not approve/register programmes or schools."

Competency Document: a document developed by comparing common training practices in the three currently regulated provinces using competencies instead of hours of instruction. This document was developed with the hope that it would be used as a common reference point for all massage therapists in regulated and non-regulated provinces, as well as a guide for all massage schools.

Entry to practice examination: some associations claim that in order to protect the public from harm, all practicing massage therapists should write a standardized exam in order to practice.

Currently in Canada some massage associations require an entry to practice exam, some do not. The three currently regulated provincial Colleges all require an entry to practice exam in addition to school exams. The majority of regulated professions in Alberta have an entry to practice examination. In the Health Protection Act of Alberta there is no legislative requirement for an entry to practice examination. It is up to the College to decide.

Survey: In order to clarify if massage therapists in Alberta wish to be regulated, a survey of all massage therapists in Alberta is being developed by the University of Alberta for spring/summer 2014.


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