REGULATION UPDATES

Milestone Update to the Massage Profession
Regarding Regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta

October 12, 2021

Dear Alberta Massage Therapists,
We wanted to provide you with an update on the progress that we have been making towards regulation in the province of Alberta.

Since our last update in July, the Working Group has been meeting on a regular basis and has been working through the requests which have been made by former Health Minister Shandro and Alberta Health regarding the application which was previously submitted in September 2020.

We have submitted a portion of the requested revisions to Alberta Health and are currently working through their feedback. This process takes time, but we want Alberta Massage Therapists to know that we are continuing to work together toward seeing regulation of the industry in Alberta come to fruition.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your association.




Milestone Update to the Massage Profession
Regarding Regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta

July 22, 2021


Dear Alberta Massage Therapists,

We have reached a historic milestone in the move to regulate Massage Therapy in Alberta. The Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Therapists Association (CMMOTA), Certified Registered Massage Therapist Association (CRMTA), Massage Therapists Association of Alberta (MTAA), Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) and Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta (TC-CMTA) jointly take great pleasure to inform you of the successful formation of the Alberta Working Group for the Regulation of Massage Therapy. The Working Group has been formed to complete the tasks which the Hon. Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health requires to move forward with regulation in Alberta.

The Working Group is pleased to inform you of how we plan to proceed together in unity. Christy Kasur, as President of the TC-CMTA, will act as the facilitator and lead communicator. She will remain the main point of contact of the Working Group for government and media. The Working Group is comprised of three representatives from each of the four major Massage Therapy Associations in Alberta. Moving forward, all activities regarding regulation will be completed through consensus decisions and directives by the Working Group to promote the regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta.

In demonstration of our unity, governing documents have been created for the Working Group, which have been submitted to Alberta Health. Their response included that they are “pleased to hear that the major associations have found a way to come together to make joint decisions on the revised application for regulation of massage therapy in Alberta.  This is a really encouraging step forward.”

In the interest of transparency and to ensure that you remain informed, Milestone Updates to the profession will be provided by your association through normal communication platforms when important milestones are reached on the road to the introduction of legislation for regulation in Alberta.

We are excited about moving forward in unity. We will update you soon on the milestones that we achieve together.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your association.


Update to Members
April 19, 2021

Dear Members,

It has come to our attention that many of you who reached out to the Minister of Health to request that massage therapy be regulated in Alberta received a response recently. We want to take this opportunity to address the Minister’s letter, as well as provide an update on our recent efforts in working towards regulation. In Minister Shandro’s response he stated:

“Additionally, please know that the Ministry of Health has been working with Alberta-based massage therapy associations over the past several years to discuss regulation of the profession. However, the associations have yet to demonstrate unity and alignment as a profession. When a profession seeks regulation under the Health Professions Act, unity within the profession is paramount as it demonstrates the profession is able to self-govern. Please be assured that we have advised the massage therapy associations to collaborate and submit a joint application in order to move forward with regulation of the profession.” 

We want to assure our members and other massage therapists across the province that the MTAA has been the driving force of regulation in the province for many years. Although we resigned formally from the Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta (TC-CMTA) in early 2020 due to the lack of progress made at that time, as well as the lack of equal representation of all associations, the MTAA continues to be a major stakeholder in this process and has been contributing to the regulation efforts continuously since our resignation.

In various communications, both written and verbal the Alberta Government has clearly stated that until they see a unified effort to work towards regulation by all four of the associations (CMMOTA, CRMTA, MTAA and NHPC), they will not take action to support the regulation of massage therapy in Alberta. Both during our time as a member of the TC-CMTA, and after our resignation we continued to communicate the importance of unity between all four associations to the TC-CMTA and CRMTA. Our goal was to ensure this condition was met in order to move any regulation efforts forward. The MTAA was aware that the use of resources for any other effort would be ineffective in achieving our goal of regulation in the absence of a unified alliance. Since our resignation from the TC-CMTA we continue to create opportunities to have those conversations with other stakeholders, and are pleased with the recent developments in improved communication and stronger relationships between organizations.

In February 2021, the MTAA and CRMTA participated in meetings with the TC-CMTA to discuss how we could proceed with creating a unified front with all four associations. Through these conversations, we became aware of CRMTA's confirmed interest to join the TC-CMTA. With the confirmation of their current position, the MTAA became interested in the prospect of re-joining the TC-CMTA with this opportunity to work collectively with equal representation of associations. A letter was sent by the MTAA on March 4th, 2021 to the TC-CMTA to express our interest in once again becoming a member This letter included a list of key concerns that would need to be addressed to ensure that we could move forward in the near future as a member of the TC-CMTA.  Shortly after our letter was sent to the TC-CMTA, it was confirmed that the CRMTA sent a similar letter stating their interest to join the TC-CMTA along with a list of similar concerns in order to facilitate this request. Both the MTAA and CRMTA have clearly demonstrated their interests in achieving regulation by cooperating with the TC-CMTA and expressing a desire to join the organization.

At this time, we are awaiting the TC-CMTA’s response to our request. Once the TC-CMTA, CRMTA and MTAA are able to address our concerns and ensure that all organizations are fairly and equally represented on the TC-CMTA, we can move forward with the MTAA’s re-joining the TC-CMTA. We believe that once all associations that represent the profession are a part of a single group, with a common goal and a clear plan of action, we will be able to demonstrate our ability to self-govern the profession as prioritized by the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro. The MTAA is looking forward to collaborating with all four associations and the TC-CMTA to achieve our common goal of regulating massage Therapy in Alberta.

While we wait for a response from the TC-CMTA to confirm any next steps, the MTAA Board of Directors and the MTAA Regulation Committee continues to meet to ensure that we are utilizing our resources effectively to support our members and the profession. We will be providing updates to our members for any progress made through email, on our website and on MTAA social media. We are excited about the future working relationship between our organization and the other leaders in the profession. While the MTAA continues to work towards harmony within the leadership of the profession, we also encourage our members to be respectful and kind while debating regulation with their massage therapy peers. By continuing to work together in a professional and respectful manner we will see the regulation of massage therapy in our province become a reality.

Sincerely,
MTAA Board of Directors ­



MTAA Regulation Committee Update
May 29, 2020


Dear Members,

In early March of this year, the MTAA resigned as a member of the Transitional Council (TC-CMTA). The MTAA has advocated for the regulation of our profession for decades, and we continue to do so. We were the only association in Alberta to fund the national accreditation process to the tune of $75,000, and we are the only association that represents Alberta massage therapists as a member of the Canadian Massage Therapy Alliance.

The Transitional Council released a statement in April that was interpreted by many to mean that the MTAA does not support regulation. This is categorically untrue. The MTAA is very much in support of regulation. What the MTAA does not support is the existing Transitional Council and the direction it is taking towards regulation. We believe that higher standards are needed than those being put forth by the current Transitional Council model. 

Currently, the Transitional Council consists of two associations that are not Massage Therapy specific and are not Alberta specific. Health care has always been a provincially governed service. Professional groups that have both national interests and represent non-massage therapy professions have a conflict of interest when pertaining to the regulatory process. The MTAA simply cannot trust these organizations to act in the best interests of our members and our profession. Only Alberta massage therapists and Alberta Massage Therapy focused associations should be allowed to create the process and the standards for “self-regulation”.  

We can assure you that we are still very much involved in the regulatory process. Over the past few months, the Regulation Committee has had several meetings with members from the legislative assembly, Alberta Health and other Massage Therapy associations. We have developed a positive and productive relationship with all Alberta focused, Massage Therapy specific associations, as well as other stakeholders. The Regulation Committee and the MTAA Board of Directors look forward to working with other groups who share our goal of establishing high standards and facilitating a smooth transition for our members while achieving self-regulation.


Sincerely,

MTAA Regulation Committee
Josh Shaw
Mike Horne
Jason Dvorak
Alicia Stoffberg



MTAA Regulation Update to Members
March 10, 2020


Dear Members,

For the better part of the past two decades, the MTAA has been a driving force for the regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta. Our association has lobbied the government, stakeholders, national organizations and our provincial partners in an effort to achieve this goal. For the past four years, the MTAA has been a founding member of the Transitional Council for the College of Massage Therapists of Alberta – an organization comprised of three representatives from each of the MTAA, NHPC and CMMOTA (formerly RMTA). The mandate of this organization was to develop and submit an application for the regulation of Massage Therapy and to support the industry while going through the transition period.

I am proud to say that the Transitional Council was able to accomplish the first goal of creating and submitting an application to the government over two years ago. Unfortunately, since that time, the Transitional Council has failed to achieve further significant progress on the regulation front.

After substantial consultation, board meetings and lengthy discussions, the MTAA Board of Directors has unanimously voted to cease our funding and resign our membership from the Transitional Council. This was not a decision that we took lightly.

In order to continue to be a member in good standing with the Transitional Council, it is estimated the MTAA would have to pay membership fees of approximately $18,000 this year. When faced with such a significant cost, your Board of Directors requested detailed information from the Transitional Council specifically related to their strategic plan, vision and annual budget to determine if the benefits of membership would out weight the costs. After being given numerous opportunities to provide a clear vision and a strategic plan on how the Transitional Council was going to break the stalemate and achieve regulation, your MTAA Board of Directors found the information we were provided to be insufficient and we were left unsatisfied. We believe that the current structure of the Transitional Council lacks the authority, strategy and ability to effectively move the regulatory effort forward. We cannot continue to fund organizations that have failed to deliver forward progress for over two years.

Although we are no longer a member of the Transitional Council, the MTAA is firm in its resolve for the need to regulate our profession. Your Board of Directors has established a committee that is tasked with working with the government, industry stakeholders and all other interested parties to support, advocate and achieve regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta. The ways of the past were not working, and it is time to pivot.

In the past two weeks, we have spoken with numerous members of the provincial government and we have received positive affirmation that regulation of Massage Therapy would be supported by the current Alberta government. Your Board of Directors and the new Regulation Committee will continue to work diligently to achieve this goal in an ethical, financially responsible, and time-efficient way.

Sincerely,

Josh Shaw
MTAA Chair