Should Massage Therapists continue to provide treatment?
CMTO’s position is that RMTs should not practice at this time. CMTO does not view the practice of Massage Therapy as emergency care. Please review the full statement on emergency care above.
CMTO will update RMTs and the public as the situation changes.
Why hasn’t CMTO ordered all clinics to close?
CMTO’s mandate is to regulate Massage Therapists in the public interest. CMTO does not have the authority or ability to order the closure of all spaces where Massage Therapy treatment is offered (e.g. clinics).
Healthcare professionals providing emergency care including dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists are listed as essential businesses. Are Massage Therapists included in this list? Can I continue to provide Massage Therapy treatment?
Massage Therapy treatment, while an important part of one’s overall health, is not considered emergency healthcare treatment. CMTO’s position is that RMTs should not practise at this time. CMTO does not view the practice of Massage Therapy as emergency care.
CMTO expects RMTs to comply with all government and public health recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. Circumstances will continue to change and CMTO’s position may evolve, especially as new guidance is provided by the Government of Ontario.
I have been asked by my employer (a hospital) or by the Government of Ontario to provide support to front line healthcare professionals. Is that ok?
CMTO’s position is that RMTs cannot provide treatment at this time. Only a hospital or the provincial government (e.g. Heathforce Ontario/Ministry of Health) would be in a position to assure an RMT, if needed, that practising to provide support to front line healthcare workers can be deemed emergency medical treatment at this time and would not violate the Premier’s order to close non-essential businesses.
Are RMTs who work in other practice settings (e.g. clinics, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, addiction treatment centres, etc.) able to practise Massage Therapy?
CMTO does not view the practice of Massage Therapy as emergency care. CMTO’s position is that RMTs should not practise at this time.
Failure to comply with an order of the Premier is a provincial offence pursuant to section 7.0.11 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000. Practitioners also risk potential civil liability for any damages caused when contravening such a directive or any of the professional standards, such as where a client is unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19.
The College expects RMTs to comply with all government and public health recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19.
What should I do if an employer / facility operator is pressuring me to continue to provide Massage Therapy?
RMTs are expected to follow the recommendations to temporarily stop practising Massage Therapy in all practice settings. If an employer or facility operator attempts to encourage an RMT to continue to practise, the RMT should contact the RMTAO for more information about employment rights and contract negotiation issues.
What should I do if a client expresses that they wish to continue with treatment despite these orders, because they view their care as emergency or essential?
Some clients may be upset or worried that they cannot access Massage Therapy treatment at this time. We know many clients rely on Massage Therapy for their physical and mental health and wellbeing. However, the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario has indicated that the risks of transmission for COVID-19 are significant and that in order to reduce those risks, Ontarians are to engage in social distancing. The practice of social distancing includes limiting healthcare treatment to the treatment of emergencies only (at this time). The College encourages RMTs to explain that the risks of contracting or being exposed to COVID-19 are high and that Massage Therapy care should be postponed until those risks decline.
What should I do if I believe an RMT is putting the public at risk?
Please forward concerns about RMTs who are practicing contrary to the Government of Ontario and CMTO’s directives to email@example.com
Can Massage Therapists provide treatment through telepractice* during the pandemic?
*telepractice is the use of telecommunications technology to provide Massage Therapy.
Offering Massage Therapy through a remote platform has a number of complexities that will need to be considered and should only be used in very few and unique situations. The RMT will need to consider the scope of practice of Massage Therapy in Ontario:
“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 tissues and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain”.
The RMT must determine whether the Massage Therapy they are considering delivering through telepractice is within the scope of practice. There are very few situations where telepractice would fall within the scope of practice of Massage Therapy. Some examples of these rare situations may include:
- When an RMT must provide guidance for client self-care; or
- When an RMT would like to complete an intake process for a new client who will be receiving treatment when the RMT returns to practice (e.g. the RMT might receive health history information electronically and conduct an intake interview virtually).
If it is within the scope of practice, the RMT must be transparent in all documentation, including billing invoices, that the services were provided remotely and that, for example, only a partial assessment was performed (i.e. it does not constitute a full session of Massage Therapy and cannot be billed as such). RMTs must advise their clients that telepractice may not be covered by their insurance provider as Massage Therapy.
Prior to using any platform, the RMT must ensure the platform is confidential and secure and meets the requirements of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2014; and the RMT must obtain the consent required under the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 and CMTO’s written consent requirements for treating (or viewing) sensitive areas (if applicable). In addition, all applicable legislative and CMTO requirements would still need to be adhered to, such as maintaining client health records.
Should I close my Massage Therapy practice?
CMTO expects that RMTs temporarily suspend their practice in accordance with CMTO recommendations and the Government of Ontario ordered closure of all non-essential businesses and services.
CMTO will provide additional information as it becomes available.
What about my income? What financial relief is available to me?
CMTO suggests RMTs continue to follow the ongoing updates from the provincial and federal government regarding support for individuals and businesses financially impacted by the pandemic. At the time of publishing these FAQs, information about economic relief is available at the following links:
The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) is also providing updates for RMTs on economic relief.