Many members are in support of obtaining tax exemption for massage therapy services, which, if obtained, would mean that RMTs in Ontario would no longer need to charge and remit HST. Once massage therapy was regulated in a fifth province – Prince Edwards Island – in 2019, we were able to begin the process, but based on the experiences of other professions who have obtained tax exemption, it was always likely to be a multi-year process.
Here is a review of that process and how we’re working towards each of these elements.
Showing that RMTs Support This Request
The Ministry of Finance would like to know that the majority of RMTs in Canada are supportive of this request in order to consider granting it. One way we can demonstrate this is by the number of RMTs belonging to Associations that are part of the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA). The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) is part of the CMTA and you can view other Associations part of the CMTA here.
Another way we prove we have the support is through the number of RMTs across Canada who have signed up for updates on the CMTA project page for RMTACT, or shared those stories, as well as how many RMTs participate in any survey requests.
Gathering Financial Information
HST/GST that is collected and remitted by RMTs represents a source of income for the federal government. The CMTA needs to prove what the financial impact will be from removing that source of income.
This can be done effectively with the survey sent to all members of Associations that belong to the CMTA in 2019 asking for various forms of financial information, although there may be further requests for updates in the future.
This information included how many RMTs collect/remit tax and how much they collect, their income, and the amount of input tax credits they claim, if any.
We need to prove to the Ministry of Finance and other federal government members that taxing massage therapy is a barrier that prevents patients from accessing the healthcare they need.
This starts by proving why massage therapy is so beneficial and important to the health of Canadians. We will be doing this by sharing the facts about massage therapy that are posted on the Tax Exemption project site of the CMTA, as well as sharing the massage therapy stories submitted by both RMTs and members of the public across Canada.
With these real life examples of how massage therapy has helped people with their healthcare, we will be able to highlight to the government why it is important that we make it easier for people across Canada to access massage therapy. We will make access to massage therapy easier and more affordable for Canadians by removing the barrier of having to pay tax.
Connecting with the Ministry of Finance
Ultimately, tax exemption will be a decision that rests with the Minister of Finance, and individuals that advise them in the Ministry of Finance. When more Members of Parliament are in support of this initiative, this is just one way we can prove the value of this request and the importance of public access to massage therapy.
Ultimately, tax exemption for massage therapists will need to be included in a federal budget, which is why the Ministry of Finance will be essential in granting this request. Over the past two years, the CMTA has submitted pre-budget submissions to the federal Ministry of Finance, which will solidify the groundwork for this request.
Our next step is to secure meetings with the Minister of Finance, various key staff and representatives in the Ministry of Finance, and other MPs that are likely to support our cause. This has been delayed somewhat as all levels of government have been primarily focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic for the past year and a half. The 2021 Federal Election has also delayed things, as it was impossible to anticipate what the change in government might be.
Now that the Federal election is complete, and the Federal government has more space for issues outside of the pandemic, we are working closely with our partners in the CMTA to set up meetings with MPs across Canada and develop connections within the Ministry of Finance so that we can eventually meet with the Minister of Finance.
Bringing It All Together
All of these elements will be essential if massage therapists across Canada will be exempt from charging and remitting tax, like most other Canadian health professionals. By becoming tax exempt, RMTs will be treated equally to most other health professions in Canada. This equal treatment is essential to ensure that massage therapists remain recognized and respected as health care professionals.
However, the most important argument is that tax exemption for massage therapy will make massage therapy treatment more affordable and accessible to patients. Canadians should be able to easily access the health care they need, which is our primary argument in support of tax exemption for massage therapy.