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Jump to: Advocacy with Integrity | Proposed Winnipeg Bylaw Change - NEW | National Survey - Harassment & Assault of RMTs - NEW | CBC Article - NEWAdvocacy for Members  | Ongoing work with Health Benefit Providers | Preventing Insurance Benefit Fraud & Abuse | Green Shield CanadaNational work on Insurance Audits |  Partnerships |  Cases in the Media 


Advocacy with Integrity

The MTAM is a recognized leader in evidence-based advocacy. Our Association is regularly called upon to provide information and advice on behalf of our members and the profession. We use common-sense and facts in all of the work we do on behalf of members. We work with integrity to ensure massage therapists can help more Manitoban's be healthy and are seen with respect by the public and other health care professions.


Proposed City of Winnipeg Bylaw Changes Could Negatively Impact RMTs

Updated June 30th

On June 16th, MTAM presented information at the City of Winnipeg Executive Policy Committee meeting with regard to the proposed changes to the Doing Business in Winnipeg Bylaw that pertains to Adult Oriented Businesses (Body Rub Parlours, Escort Services etc).

Many adult oriented businesses do not get licenses to operate making it difficult for the city to monitor them for bylaw infractions or worker safety. The proposed by-law changes would see a significant decrease in the licensing fee for body rub parlours and as well as the implementation of a variety of safety mechanisms for those who work in parlours. They would also consider allowing these businesses to be licensed and operate outside of the Downtown area.

By decreasing the fee and making it easier to become licensed, the City of Winnipeg hoped it would encourage more businesses to become licensed and monitored.

MTAM was not consulted on the potential impact of the proposed policy changes which we felt could have a significant negative impact on RMTs in Winnipeg.

In advance of the meeting, MTAM Executive Director Tricia Weidenbacher, spoke with City Councillor Scott Gillingham and former MP Joy Smith who were also in opposition to the proposed change. They and other speakers helped convey various concerns regarding the bylaw changes and how they did little to provide real protection of vulnerable workers and how the changes could inadvertently have a negative impact on Registered Massage Therapists.

MTAM submitted a letter in opposition to the bylaw change to be considered by City Council and which raised a number of questions and concerns.

As a result, the City of Winnipeg voted to delay their decision for 180 days in order to consult with various stakeholders including MTAM.

We look forward to the upcoming consultation with the City of Winnipeg on this matter.

Councillor Gillingham and Joy Smith also reiterated MTAM’s request for the Province of Manitoba to act more quickly with respect to the regulation of the massage therapy profession in Manitoba and MTAM thanks them for their support.

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National Survey - Incidence of Assault and Harassment Toward RMTs

Updated July 5th

Through MTAM’s membership with the Canadian Massage Therapy Alliance (CMTA), we will engage in a national survey that will gather information on the incidence of sexual harassment and assault of RMTs in the workplace.

In 2019, the Association of New Brunswick Massage Therapists (ANBMT) partnered with researchers at the University of New Brunswick to look at the incidence of harassment and assault of RMTs. The Survey Results showed that:

  • 75% of ANBMT members reported having been sexually assaulted or harassed by a client. 
  • 27% reported fearing sexual assault at work.
  • 26% of those who had an experience of harassment or assault reported having been assaulted or harassed by a client on more than 3 occasions.

The CMTA determined that a national survey should be conducted to examine this from a national perspective and in order to learn how we can better support our members.

This page will be updated as progress on the survey becomes available.

MTAM currently offers a free course to members on safe work strategies. They can find a recording of a recent event in the Member Portal and see the Coming Events page for future live courses.

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CBC Article alleging RMTs in unregulated provinces offering sex for sale

Updated July 5th

A June 17th article from CBC suggests that some RMTs in unregulated provinces are selling sexual services and offering receipts for insurance reimbursement.

The article by Geoff Leo and Leah Hendry states that investigators contacted individuals who advertised on Kijiji and claimed to be registered massage therapists. MTAM is not aware of whether the individuals making those claims were actually RMTs and if they were current members with any professional association recognized in Manitoba.

MTAM has had a long-standing issue with online advertising platforms doing nothing to deter misleading or inaccurate advertising on their sites. 

This article highlights the urgent need for regulation of the massage therapy profession in Manitoba to protect both the public as well as RMTs by preventing misleading and false advertising of massage therapy services by individuals who operate under the guise of registered massage therapy.

MTAM has reached out to the reporters for clarification on some of the statements made in the article.

We will post an update on this as soon as more information becomes available.

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Supporting Our Members

UPDATED - September 2020

The MTAM undertakes a variety of advice, mentorship and advocacy for our members:

  • We provide reliable and constant information for members in an ever-changing environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Updates were delivered via email, newsletters and on the MTAM website. 
    • We delivered live webinars for members on key topics. These sessions also helped preserve our sense of community by allowing members to meet virtually.
    • We responded to member needs by providing free access to practice advisors, clinic tools and resources, and webinars.
    • We advocated on behalf of members to all levels of government, to public health, and to insurance companies. 
    • We quickly adapted to ensure all regular membership services and benefits were uninterrupted despite COVID-19-related closures. This meant that Board and committee members volunteered hundreds of extra hours. 
  • We give members step-by-step ways of managing legal challenges, we can help them to find affordable legal help, coach and assist in preparation when then need to testify or hand in their SOAP notes for a case.
  • We coach clinic owners and individual therapists how to report incidents when they have been propositioned, assaulted, or mistreated by a client.
  • The MTAM has been working with Clinic Owners and Spas to build better employment and independent contractor situations for RMTs and help the organizations manage human resource challenges.
  • We consult to help businesses improve work situations, treat RMTs more fairly, and to be sure that pay, work conditions and contracts are fair.
  • Our Associate Membership ($50) is our way of inviting Clinics, Spas, Wellness Centres and other organizations to be a part of this community. To attend events and take part in key discussions that affect the profession.
  • The MTAM offers practice advice and mentorship to help members with all of their practice-related questions, to review contracts, navigate starting their business, and to mediate challenging situations with co-workers or owners.

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Ongoing work with Health Benefit Providers

The MTAM works closely with all major health insurance benefit providers, third party administrators and similar organizations. Each month we send an updated list of our members to all major benefit providers so they are able to quickly and efficiently process claims made by patients. The MTAM educates members and helps with individual cases of insurance fraud or suspected fraudulent practices within clinics where our members work.

The MTAM places a priority on advocating on behalf of our members, the massage therapy profession and the public. We continue to educate health benefit providers on the benefits of massage therapy which has helped thousands of Canadians remain active, mobile and pain-free, recover from injuries and relieve debilitating symptoms of illnesses. 

As most insurance companies are national, we assist the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA) in advocating for the continued inclusion of massage therapy coverage in extended health benefits plans. The CMTA meets regularly with representatives from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CHLIA) to provide information and education about the role of massage therapists as health professionals across the country, and the evidence supporting the efficacy of massage therapy.

Health Benefit Providers and third party administrators across Canada attended two updates with the MTAM via webinar in January and March of 2018. Thanks to everyone who attended — we were delighted to host these events for so many representatives from the majority of organizations across Canada.

The first presentation was a Manitoba Regulation update and was well-received. The second presentation was a follow up to the insurers general questions and interests in

  1. Explanations for less-than-30 minute Massage Therapy treatments.
    The MTAM polled members on what type of massage therapy is being done in smaller/shorter treatments so we were able to define this for the health benefit providers. Children’s massage, seniors, infants, and a myriad of other very reasonable treatment types are of shorter duration and our clarifying list made sense to them once they understood the basis.
  2. Ideas and best practices to avoid inadvertent approval of student massage work.
    Many insurers prefer not to approve massage claims that were provided by anyone not appropriately qualified but some do not have the processes or resources to audit or follow up. MTAM is working with some of these insurers to help them simplify and update their processes.
  3. Confusion about Osteopathy / Osteopathic Manual Practitioners.
    This inspired more questions and so the MTAM is now working on gathering all the facts related to his health care to present this information to the public, insurers, and our members.

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MTAM Discussions with Green Shield Canada 

In addition to our ongoing advocacy with all national insurance companies through CHLIA, the MTAM has been in contact directly with Green Shield Canada to discuss their recent article The Elephant in the Waiting Room.

While Green Shield has indicated that they intend to continue coverage for massage therapy treatments, the MTAM has voiced our concern for the manner in which this and other posts have minimized the value of massage therapy and the benefits that treatments provide for the many Manitobans who make regular use of registered massage therapy.

The MTAM has made the offer to assist Green Shield in understanding the efficacy of massage therapy and how it can help decrease the need for expensive medications by putting them in contact with members of our research committee who are able to provide access to current, relevant massage therapy research.

The MTAM will continue to advocate on behalf of our members and the public they serve, who rely on high quality massage therapy for pain relief, to improve and maintain their mobility and overall quality of health. 

MTAM Letter to GSC

CMTA Letter to GSC

GSC Response to MTAM

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National work on Insurance Audits

On a national level the CMTA met with CHLIA to discuss a number of topics including finding ways to ensure audits are more consistent.

The hope is to bring all the information to the table to find solutions to the insurance audit process which currently seems arbitrary and dependant on the individual assessor rather than a coherent, concise, and transparent process.  CHLIA has been working to layout a national strategy/criteria for the collection of information, standard recording processes, and standardized practices. The CMTA will send information to assist in that process.

The CMTA also presented a number of other advocacy points to CHLIA — thanks to both of these important groups for their work in helping all RMTs.

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Partnerships

We are all stronger, when we work together. We are proud of the relationships and partnerships we have with other Massage Therapy Association's across Canada and are a proud member of the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance. We work with other health care therapies in this province including the Manitoba Physiotherapy Association, the Manitoba Athletic Therapists' Association, and the Manitoba Chiropractor's Association.

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Cases in the Media

The MTAM keeps up-to-date on all court cases, incidents, and situations related to massage, massage parlours, body workers, and to cases that involve massage therapy health care practitioners in Manitoba.

When cases are being investigated or are in the court system, we will not comment specifically to respect the integrity of that case or investigation. The MTAM believes it is inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice. Publicly discussing cases sub judice may constitute interference with the legal process.

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