Practice Advice

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario’s (CMTO’s) Practice Specialist is available to provide information and guidance to Massage Therapists (“RMTs” or “MTs”), clients, employers and other people who may have questions about Massage Therapy practice.

RMTs are encouraged to contact the Practice Specialist to discuss unfamiliar situations and explore possible options. While the Practice Specialist aims to provide comprehensive information to RMTs, the Practice Specialist cannot provide legal or financial advice. Guidance provided by the Practice Specialist is legislation focused and considers CMTO’s policies and standards which establish expectations for Massage Therapy practice.

Where appropriate, information shared with the Practice Advisor may be forwarded to the CMTO Professional Conduct department for action.

The interprofessional record keeping resource is no longer available. Please see the workshops offered by CMTO. Contact the Practice Specialist by email at practicespecialist@cmto.com or by phone at 416-489-2626/1-800-465-1933 extension 4124. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Practice Specialist has developed a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by subject area that relate to common questions received from registrants. Please review the FAQs before contacting the College with your question.

Advertising/Discounts/Fees

Does CMTO have a guideline on standard fees for Massage Therapy services or what fees are usually charged by RMTs?

CMTO does not set rates/fees for RMTs. RMTs independently set rates/fees for their practices. CMTO provides standards and guidelines that relate fees, including how fees are communicated, that they are equitable, and are fairly applied to clients. For more information on these guidelines, see Standard 2 – Inform the Client of the Fees and Obtain His/Her Agreement to a Fee Schedule and Section 26 of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.

The Registered Massage Therapists Association of Ontario (RMTAO) does publish a fee guideline based on fees commonly charged by RMTs. Please see their webpage on the topic here: Massage Therapy Services and Fees.

Can RMTs provide discounts/promotions/free giveaways to clients or charge different fee than posted?

RMTs can charge a different fee than posted if they are transparent about the rationale for this change and gain the prior acceptance of the client. This change and the rationale for it must be noted in the client’s health record. For more information, see Standard 2 – Inform the Client of the Fees and Obtain His/Her Agreement to a Fee Schedule and Ontario Regulation 544/94 under the Massage Therapy Act, 1991. RMTs should use their professional judgement to ensure fees changes do not compromise care or put the reputation of the profession in disrepute. This includes careful consideration of how rates and fees are set, advertised, and promoted.

What are the advertising guidelines for Massage Therapy?

Please refer to the CMTO’s Advertising Policy and Part II Advertising of Ontario Regulation 544/94 under the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.

Leaving a Practice & Client Record Retention

If I leave my current practice, what are my responsibilities to my clients?

When an RMT leaves a practice, clients must be informed to allow them to have a reasonable opportunity to arrange for alternative care or to arrange to provide alternative care for them. See also the Professional Misconduct regulations in Ontario Regulation 544/94 under the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.

Clients must also be informed of how they can continue to access their records if this will change (for example if the RMT is the Health Information Custodian for these records). Please refer to the College’s policy on Record Retention and Part III Records of Ontario Regulation 544/94 under the Massage Therapy Act, 1991 for information on managing client files.

If a business owner will not permit the RMT to personally contact the clients, the RMT can arrange to have someone else from the clinic notify their clients.

How long must client records (files) be retained?

It is the RMT’s responsibility to ensure that client records are retained according to Part III Records of Ontario Regulation 544/94 under the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.

“11. (5) every client health record shall be retained for at least 10 years following,

(a) the client’s last visit; or

(b) if the client was less than 18 years old at the time of his or her last visit, the day the client became or would become 18 years old.”

This can be done by either retaining possession of the files personally, or in the case of a clinic or other Health Information Custodian retaining possession, ensuring that they have appropriate access to the files for the duration specified by the Act. Clients must be aware how and where they can access or request a copy of their files.

Modalities

Can RMTs provide Acupuncture in the context of Massage Therapy treatment?

CMTO supports the use of acupuncture as a modality if registrants are authorized by CMTO to perform acupuncture, and this modality is performed within the Massage Therapy Scope of Practice and in accordance with Acupuncture Standard of Practice.

All registrants authorized to perform acupuncture are listed on CMTO’s Acupuncture Roster, accessible through the existing public register.

All registrants practising acupuncture must meet CMTO’s Acupuncture Standard of Practice. As part of this, registrants must first complete an acupuncture program that provides them with the entry-level acupuncture practice competencies as set out in CMTO’s Acupuncture Practice Competencies and Performance Indicators (APC/PIs). The APC/PIs state the learning outcomes that must be provided by acupuncture education programs to enable their inclusion by CMTO in the list of “Confirmed Acupuncture Education Programs.”

Once the registrant has successfully completed the Confirmed Acupuncture Education Program, they must then arrange for the program to submit documentation directly to CMTO confirming their successful completion of the program. In addition, the registrant must complete the online application and declaration process, attesting that they:

  1. Will practise acupuncture within the Scope of Practice of Massage Therapy;
  2. Have read, understood and will practise in accordance with Standards of Practice, Standard of Practice for Acupuncture, APCs/PIs and all regulations;
  3. Have the knowledge, skill and judgment to safely perform acupuncture; and
  4. Possess the professional liability insurance required to perform acupuncture.

How do I find out if using a particular technique, modality or tool is within the Scope of Practice of Massage Therapy?

RMTs can incorporate modalities, techniques or tools into their practice as long as the reason for doing so is suitable to the Scope of Practice for Massage Therapy; and, as long as the modality, technique or tool can be applied in a manner that is compliant with CMTO’s Standards of Practice.

For reference, please find the Scope of Practice statement and Standards of Practice here.

The Scope of Practice for Massage Therapy establishes  a description of what Massage Therapy treatment ‘is’ and what it ‘does’. While the Standards of Practice establish how Massage Therapy treatment should be ‘applied’.

When considering the use of a new technique, modality or tool, RMTs must consider whether the application of the new technique, modality or tool:

  • Is appropriate to apply according to the ethical principles established by CMTO’s Code of Ethics;
  • Supports the assessment and treatment of the soft tissues and joints of the body;
  • Promotes the prevention of physical dysfunction of the soft tissue and joints;
  • Helps to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain; and
  • Can be applied in a manner that is full compliant with the Standards of Practice for Massage Therapy.

In cases where the use of a technique, modality or tool is not suitable to the Scope of Practice for Massage Therapy; or, where the application of the technique, modality or tool cannot be applied in a manner that is compliant with Standards of Practice, RMTs must refrain from integrating it into a Massage Therapy treatment.

RMTs are also not permitted to incorporate modalities, techniques or tools that include engaging in Controlled Acts as established by Section 27 (2) A of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 without authorization from CMTO.

Receipts

Is there a difference in the receipts I provide based on practice type and location I am working at?

The information to be recorded on receipts remains the same regardless of the practice type and location of the practice. Please refer to the College’s Policy on Receipts to review the specific information that must be included on a receipt.

External Resources
Questions not covered by the FAQs may be addressed by other information resources. RMTs with questions that fall outside CMTO’s jurisdiction may refer to the following Resource List which references a number of useful external websites than can answer many of the questions most typically received by CMTO.

Resource

Description

Canada Revenue Agency

Information regarding GST/HST issues, as well as information regarding income tax obligations

College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario

The regulatory College for those registered as Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists. Questions regarding the use of acupuncture can be directed here.

E-laws – Government of Ontario

Listing of all Ontario legislation, including the Massage Therapy Act (MTA), the Regulated Professions Health Act (RHPA), the Personal Health Information and Protection Act (PHIPA), etc.

Health Profession Regulators of Ontario (HPRO)

Maintains a strategic focus on regulatory matters while promoting effective communication and cooperation among its members, including CMTO.

Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)  

Effective June 8, 2019, FSRA assumed the regulatory functions of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO).

Health Claims for Auto Insurance

Offers healthcare providers valuable information and aid when working with MVA claims.

Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC)

The Council which reports to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care regarding client relations among the regulated health professionals.

Law Society of Upper Canada

Offers information regarding locating a lawyer.

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner

Protection of personal privacy in Ontario, including privacy of personal health information. Offers many useful guidelines regarding personal health information privacy, including that of client files.

Ontario Ministry of Health

Information for healthcare providers in the event of a provincial health crisis/pandemic.

Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario

Information regarding the day-to-day practice of an RMT, such as fee schedule, HST, business contract issues.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Offers valuable information regarding WSIB claim

Insurance Bureau of Canada

The national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers.

Report Insurance Crime Submit a confidential TIP here