A Reminder to RMTs on Bartering Massage Therapy Treatment

Winter 2020

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) would like to remind Massage Therapists (RMTs/MTs) that bartering – or trading – of Massage Therapy treatment for nonmonetary goods or services still constitutes ‘Massage Therapy care.’ This means the person you’re providing Massage Therapy care to in exchange for goods and/or services is considered your ‘client.’

Before entering into this type of arrangement, RMTs should weigh the potential risks against the benefits to themselves and the individual involved. Below is a list of considerations that may be helpful in assessing the risks involved in entering a nonmonetary one-for-one exchange in the context of Massage Therapy:

  • Ensuring Safe and Quality Care. As an RMT, you’re responsible for following all Standards of Practice, the Code of Ethics, and other CMTO practice guidance at all times, to ensure the client receives safe, effective, and ethical Massage Therapy treatment.
  • Providing Fair and Equitable Access to Treatment. Although monetary fees are not involved in bartering scenarios, we encourage RMTs to assess whether the exchange agreement that they’re considering is fair and equitable, and that the client to whom they provide Massage Therapy treatment is approached in an unbiased manner that respects their unique and individual needs.
  • As a reminder, treating a person with whom the RMT is in a sexual or romantic relationship, even if that person is their spouse, is prohibited under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
  • Bartering May Lead to a Conflict of Interest. A conflict of interest arises when a reasonable person could perceive that the RMT’s professional judgment or duty to act in the best interest of the client may be influenced by personal gain. A conflict of interest has the potential to develop in bartering arrangements when the RMT benefits personally, professionally or is closely associated with the individual in question. Read the College’s Conflict of Interest Guidelines to learn more about existing or perceived conflict of interest in Massage Therapy.

Ultimately, it is an RMTs’ personal decision as to whether they choose to enter into a bartering arrangement or not (keeping in mind that there might also be tax consequences to the providing or obtaining of goods or services through barter). The College expects RMTs to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner at all times to make sure the client being treated receives ethical, safe and quality care.

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