Reminder – RMTs are Prohibited from Treating their Romantic/Sexual Partner
The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is committed to preventing and addressing the sexual abuse of clients by Registered Massage Therapists (MTs or RMTs). It is CMTO’s responsibility to protect the public from abuse by Massage Therapists and we take any allegation of sexual abuse very seriously.
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) is designed to eliminate any form of sexual behaviour between regulated health professionals, including RMTs, and their clients. Even if the client “consents” to or initiates the sexual behaviour, it is prohibited for the RMT and considered sexual abuse under the RHPA.
The term “sexual abuse” is defined broadly in the RHPA; any sexual behaviour with respect to a client is deemed to be sexual abuse. The RHPA defines sexual abuse as:
- sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between an RMT and a client;
- touching, of a sexual nature, of the client by an RMT; or
- behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by an RMT towards the client.
It is important to remember that RMTs, like most health professionals, are prohibited from treating any person they have a sexual and/or romantic relationship with, including their spouse. Even if the individual “consented” to the relationship, it is still considered sexual abuse under the RHPA. There is no exception in the RHPA.
While you cannot practise Massage Therapy or engage in any kind of therapeutic relationship with your spouse or romantic/sexual partner because it is considered sexual abuse under the RHPA, normal physical touching that takes place within your spousal/romantic relationship would not be considered the practise of Massage Therapy, and so would not be captured in the sexual abuse provisions of the RHPA.
In Ontario, performing Massage Therapy treatments on a romantic/sexual partner, including a spouse, is grounds for mandatory revocation of an RMT’s Certificate of Registration. All findings of sexual abuse are posted permanently on CMTO’s public register.
For more information, please review the Standard for Maintaining Professional Boundaries and Preventing Sexual Abuse.
Remember, if you suspect that a client has been sexually abused by an RMT or by any registrant of another health regulatory college, you are required to report it. Learn more here.