Standards of Practice





Scope of Practice

The practice of Massage Therapy is the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain (Massage Therapy Act, 1991).

What are Standards of Practice?

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) has published Standards of Practice for registrants which establish the expectations for all Massage Therapists regardless of their role, job description or area of practice. These Standards guide RMTs’ practice in order to protect the public. Contravening or failing to maintain either published Standards of the College or unpublished Standards of Practice of the profession is an act of Professional Misconduct under the CMTO’s Professional Misconduct Regulation.

The Standards of Practice form a live and dynamic document that will evolve as changes in practice occur. It is an MT’s obligation to ensure they are complying with the Standards of Practice of the profession and the published Standards of the College that are in force at the time.

The Standards of Practice outline key expectations and describe the minimum requirement for performance. Within each Standard you will find items which outline behaviours that may or may not apply to every situation (client population, environment, etc.).  It is up to the MT to use their clinical judgement and decision-making skills to determine if an item applies within the current context, considering all factors. However, even if an item does not apply in a situation, the MT is still expected to be able to demonstrate all items should he / she be requested or required. In situations where the MT uses their clinical judgement and determines an item is not applicable, the MT must be able to provide a reasonable rationale for the variation from the Standard.

Why are Standards of Practice Necessary?

These published Standards of Practice are also used in the following ways:

  • Massage Therapists are able to understand what is expected of them;
  • Educators are able to address the Standards as objectives in curriculum design;
  • Registration (admission to the College);
  • Investigations into professional conduct;
  • Discipline Hearings;
  • Fitness to Practise Hearings;
  • Quality Assurance;
  • Client Relations; and
  • The public is able to assess the quality of treatment through written Standards.

Relevant Legislation

In addition to being accountable to meet the published Standards of Practice of the College, Massage Therapists are accountable under the legislation that includes the following:

CMTO to Launch New Standards of Practice on January 1, 2022

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is pleased to announce that CMTO’s Council approved the new Standards of Practice at its February 9th, 2021 meeting.

The new Standards come into effect on January 1, 2022.

CMTO is introducing the full package of Standards (2022) now to allow enough time for RMTs, clients and educators to become familiar with the updated requirements.


View the new Standards (2022)


CMTO would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to this multi-year project. Feedback from RMTs, Massage Therapy clients, educators and others played a key role in shaping the new Standards of Practice.