NEWS ARTICLE

Massage Therapy Regulated in PEI

3/1/2019

March 1, 2019 – Massage Therapy has been included as a Regulated Health Profession under the Prince Edward Island Regulated Health Professions Act. This means that individuals practicing massage therapy in PEI will, as of today, be considered regulated health professionals, and new applicants would need to apply with the College of Massage Therapists of PEI which is currently being formed. 

The RMTAO would like to congratulate the Prince Edward Island Massage Therapy Association (PEIMTA) for this monumental accomplishment. This represents a significant step forward to the massage therapy profession both in PEI and across Canada.

The regulation of massage therapy in PEI has implications for massage therapists across Canada. Now that massage therapy will be regulated in five provinces – Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island – an application for tax exemption status for the massage therapy profession can be made to the Canadian Minister of Finance. 

Historically, this has been a process that has lasted several years. For example, once a fifth province was regulated for naturopathy, it took two years before they were granted a tax exempt status. The act of tax exemption of a distinct group of people is an act of parliament, which means that a bill needs to be formed and passed, or tax exemption needs to be included in the federal budget, as was the case for Naturopaths and Acupuncturists in 2014. 

The RMTAO, with our partners at the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA), has engaged the services of a top government relations firm, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, to lobby the Canadian Federal government to remove the requirement for Canadian massage therapists to charge and remit tax. 

We will be launching a targeted, wide-reaching campaign to raise awareness and build support for tax exemption for massage therapists in Canada. The success of this campaign will require the participation of RMTs in a wide range of advocacy initiatives.  We have also been working to emphasize that any cost savings from tax exemption actually get passed on to the patient, and RMTs are willing to give up their input tax credits and the tax savings they receive to pass this savings on to the patients. 

In order for our request for tax exemption to the Canadian Ministry of Finance to be successful, we would need to present them with certain information including the financial impact to the federal government and that the majority of RMTs across Canada are united behind this request. This would likely require increased membership in massage therapy associations across Canada. With increased awareness of both the benefits of massage therapy and the burden paying tax presents to patients, as well as strengthened relationships with Members of Parliament, we will be able to confidently move towards tax exemption for the massage therapy profession.

Obtaining tax exemption for massage therapy will require the support and cooperation of all massage therapists across Canada. We will be seeking information about massage therapists’ practices and encouraging participation in advocacy initiatives. We look forward to working with the Hill & Knowlton Strategies, our members, our partners in the CMTA and massage therapists across the country towards the goal of tax exemption for massage therapy.