Policy: Massage Therapy Graduates/Students Practicing without being Registered
Massage therapy students or graduates who have not yet successfully completed the College certification examinations are not yet registrants of the College. The College believes that it is not in the public’s interest for students or graduates to practise before they are registered with the College.
If the College receives information to suggest that a Massage Therapy student or graduate is, or has been, practising before being registered, the information will be reviewed as part of the application for registration as outlined below.
The scope of practice of Massage Therapy is defined very broadly in the Massage Therapy Act, 1991, which provides that: “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 to relieve pains.”
Only registrants of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (the College) are permitted to hold themselves out as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as a Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist or to use the titles Massage Therapist, MT, Registered Massage Therapist, RMT, Massothérapeute or any variation or abbreviation or equivalent in another language.
The College has a statutory duty to work in consultation with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure, as a matter of public interest, that the people of Ontario have access to adequate numbers of qualified, skilled and competent regulated health professionals.
The public has a right to receive Massage Therapy services from qualified and duly registered Massage Therapists in Ontario who are accountable to the College.
The College has no jurisdiction over services performed by unregistered individuals. If a member of the public is not satisfied with the actions of an unregistered individual who has provided massage, the College will not be able to investigate or consider a complaint or report made about that individual’s actions.
Furthermore, the provisions of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 which allow clients of registered health professionals to access funding for therapy or counselling in the case of sexual abuse will NOT be available in the case of an unregistered individual.
Clients receiving services from unregistered individuals may not realize that those services will not be covered by their health insurance plan, that the provider of the services may not have professional liability insurance, or that the College has no jurisdiction over the services or the quality of services provided by that individual.
Massage Therapy students or graduates who have not yet successfully completed the College certification examinations and met the other requirements for registration are not yet registrants of the College. The College believes that it is not in the public’s interest for students or graduates to practise Massage Therapy (or massage) before they are registered with the College.
The College advises Massage Therapists that they cannot supervise the work of an unregulated individual and bill that service as Massage Therapy and should not allow unregistered students/graduates to work as Massage Therapists in their practice.
If the College receives information to suggest that a Massage Therapy student or graduate is, or has been, practising before being registered, the information will be reviewed to determine if the student has contravened the holding out prohibition or the title protection provisions of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991, or the College’s office marks. When the student or graduate applies for registration the information may be referred to the Registration Committee for a decision as to whether the applicant’s conduct affords reasonable grounds for the belief that the applicant will practise Massage Therapy with decency, honesty and integrity, and in accordance with the law. If it does not, the Registration Committee may refuse to register the applicant or may impose terms, conditions or limitations on their certificate of registration.
Adopted: June 28, 1999 Revised: December 3, 2004 Revised: February 12, 2019
1 Massage Therapy students may only practice Massage Therapy as part of their formal massage therapy educational training program and under the supervision of a Massage Therapy instructor.