Inter-jurisdictional Competency Across Regulated Provinces

Over the last two years, Ontario has worked with the other two regulated provinces, British Columbia (BC) and Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), to create one common set of competency standards among the regulated provinces. This Inter-jurisdictional Competency Profile is an amalgamation of the BC and ON competency documents resulting in a simpler, cleaner expression of the competencies for Massage Therapy. This document will be of value to other provinces seeking regulation of the profession.

“The working group of Registered Massage Therapists was able to move from historical wariness to collaboration,” says Wendy Hunter, RMT. “Once this was achieved, we were able to begin the process of creating a new document, national in scope, and focused upon a measurable description of the practice of Massage Therapy at the time of entry to the profession”.

In June of 2008, representatives of the three regulated jurisdictions for Massage Therapy in Canada met to begin developing a new taxonomy (organized language), comparing the competency documents of British Columbia and Ontario (Newfoundland and Labrador uses the same document as Ontario). This process was led by Dr. David Cane of Catalysis Consulting who had been selected by the three regulatory colleges in response to a tender process. This activity was supported by the three regulatory colleges and financed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).

Proposed practice competencies were developed from the two existing competency documents, taking advantage of work done during the earlier inter-jurisdictional review related to labour mobility. At the beginning of the process, Massage Therapy associations were invited to the meeting in Newfoundland to provide input on the document. Once a set of proposed inter-jurisdictional practice competencies was established, the project team undertook an online validation survey involving RMTs in the three regulated provinces. Response data was compared by province, reviewing every competency for importance and for frequency. The project team found almost no statistically-significant provincial variation in responses.

An Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Massage Therapists and a Project Report with Recommendations was presented to College Council and approved in June 2010. Boards in BC and NL also approved the document.

“This approval has moved the profession of Massage Therapy from three jurisdictions with different but duplicate processes describing entry-to-practice competency standards to a national standard unifying the profession in its expectations of the individual entering the profession”, says Peggy Bereza, Deputy Registrar of the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia. “Other jurisdictions across the country have been consulted throughout the process of inter-jurisdictional competency development and have expressed a keen interest in a national standard for Massage Therapy educational programs and entry-to-practice examinations. All jurisdictions will be involved in consultations as the work developing Performance Indicators proceeds.”

“The next phase, development of Performance Indicators for each of the competencies, will involve broad collaboration and consultation with educators, associations in non regulated jurisdictions and the regulatory colleges,” says Registrar and Executive Director of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. “This process moves the profession closer to national entry-to-practice examinations and a national presence in health care delivery.”

To view the complete Inter-jurisdictional competency profile, go to the Competency Standards section of the College website.

About the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario

The College of Massage Therapists is the governing body for Massage Therapists in the province of Ontario and is one of the 23 regulatory Colleges that govern Ontario’s regulated health professions. The College has been regulating the profession of Massage Therapy for the past ninety years, initially under the Drugless Practitioners Act and then under the Regulated Health Professions Act 1991 (RHPA) and the Massage Therapy Act 1991. The College’s primary role is to protect the public interest with respect to the practice of Massage Therapy in Ontario and ensure that Massage Therapy services are provided by competent and accountable practitioners in an effective, safe and ethical manner. The College is accountable to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and to the public in carrying out its statutory objects as set out in the RHPA.

Under the provisions of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991, only those who are registered with the College are permitted to use the title “Registered Massage Therapist” or “Massage Therapist”.

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