On November 24th, 2015 the Manitoba Minister of Health, Sharon Blady accepted the Health Professions Advisory Council's recommendation that the profession of massage therapy be granted self-regulation under the Regulated Health Professionals Act (RHPA).
Congratulations to our colleagues in Manitoba! This is a momentous step for the profession both in Manitoba, and across Canada. Regulation will increase our standing as a valuable health profession that can make a significant difference in the health of Canadians. Regulation in a fifth province also means that we can move forward in the process of obtaining tax exemption for massage therapy, an issue that has been important to RMTs in Ontario for many years.
Once a fifth province is officially regulated for massage therapy, there is a series of steps that we will be taking immediately. The first step is for the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA) to send a letter to the Federal Minister of Finance, The Honorable Bill Morneau, requesting tax exemption. Once this letter is acknowledged, the Ministry of Finance will require specific information such as the financial impact on the federal government, and that the majority of RMTs in each regulated province are united behind this request. Once the Ministry of Finance is satisfied with the information provided, the request would need to be formed into a bill, or included in another bill such as the federal budget, to be heard in parliament and passed into law. This is a federal issue, and we will be working with the rest of the CMTA to make tax exemption a reality.
The regulation of a fifth province is a positive catalyst for change in the massage therapy profession, both in the fight for tax exemption and in advancing the massage therapy profession in Canada as a valuable healthcare option. Now that we’ve gotten the catalyst, we will be beginning the two to five year process that is required to obtain tax exemption for massage therapy.
For more information on the tax exemption process, and the RMTAO’s next steps, we will be holding an information session, open to all RMTs, RMT students and other stakeholders, in early 2016.