Regulation of Massage Therapy in Alberta

In 2004, a formal application was made to Alberta Health and Wellness to begin the process of allowing Massage Therapy to become a self-regulating profession, under the Health Professions Act (HPA).

In 2008, all Alberta based associations made a presentation to the Health Professions Advisory Board (HPAB) and made the case for regulation of Massage Therapy , which was subsequently approved by the then Minister of Health.

In 2009, the then Minister informed the associations, that after reviewing the details,  the recommendation of the HPAB that the profession of Massage Therapy be granted self-regulation under the HPA had been accepted.

Between 2009 and 2011, the associations within Alberta struggled to find common ground and consensus with respect to the forward momentum of regulation of the profession and in 2011, discussions came to a halt.

In mid 2013, the government suggested that a survey be undertaken to understand the wishes of the current practitioners in Alberta regarding regulation, which was completed in the fall of 2015.  Results showed that there is support by the profession for regulation and also outlined a number of areas that required additional review and discussion.

In early 2016, the coalition of Alberta association announced that agreement had been reached on potential eligibility requirements for transitioning current practitioners into a regulatory College that take into account years of experience and education. At the request of the government, an updated formal Application for Regulation was drafted, which addressed the following areas within the government’s template for regulation under the HPA:

  • The type of services provided by massage therapists
  • Statistical information about member numbers
  • Information about other Colleges
  • Standards of competence
  • Entry requirements
  • Approved education programs
  • Continued competency programs
  • Public risk
  • Other legislation and mobility between provinces
  • Similarities to other professions
  • Protected titles
  • College structure
  • Cost benefit analysis

In the fall of 2016, the coalition of Associations underwent a full consultation process with their members to ensure everyone had full opportunity to discuss all aspects of regulation, including proposed eligibility requirements to transition into a regulatory College.  The  in-person consultations were followed up by an online survey and the summarized results submitted to government.

In late fall 2016, the coalition of Associations met with government and obtained approval in principle to proceed with further consultation.

NEXT STEPS

The Ministry of Health has set a course for us to work though core key issues that need to be addressed prior to self-regulation including consultation with other professional associations and lobby groups within Alberta, the educational institutions teaching Massage Therapy training programs and healthcare professions who have gone through this process in hopes of easing challenges.

The consultation process is scheduled to begin by spring 2017 with the goal of completion by the end of 2017.