Advocacy Update - Meeting with John Fraser, MPP, regarding opportunities for RMTs


On February 22, 2018, RMTAO Executive Director Andrew Lewarne met with John Fraser, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa South. Mr. Fraser supports the development of a comprehensive strategy for palliative and end-of-life care in Ontario, and more recently has been essential in improving access to treatment for musculoskeletal pain through the expansion of Rapid Access Clinics.

Rapid Access Clinics (RACs) are organized by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and provide quick access to assessment, education and treatment options from a range of providers. RACs are expanding to assess and treat muscle and bone disorders relating to hip, knee and lower back pain. This will reduce wait times, the need for unnecessary medical procedures and could include referrals to alternatives to surgery and pain medication.

Mr. Fraser recognized that Registered Massage Therapists are knowledgeable and valued members of interprofessional collaborative teams. It was acknowledged that the RMTAO could be a valued partner in the RAC protocol. RACs are committed to offering effective non-surgical and non-drug options, and massage therapy has been proven to be effective for a range of common musculoskeletal conditions. Moving forward, the RMTAO will be meeting with several LHINs to promote the involvement of Registered Massage Therapists in the RACs, highlighting our success on interprofessional teams including chiropractors and physiotherapists.

Hospice palliative care in Ontario, and the potential inclusion of RMTs, was also discussed. Gaps in the palliative care system have been identified and it was suggested that massage therapy may be able to fill some of these gaps. We will continue the discussion with Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) to work to establish opportunities for RMTs in palliative care in Ontario.

The RMTAO will also connect with the Association of Family Health Teams in Ontario (AFHTO), which represents Ontario’s primary care teams including Family Health Teams (FHTs) and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs), and the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC), which represent community-governed primary health care organizations. We will work to incorporate massage therapy into family health teams and health centres.

The RMTAO will continue to advocate for Registered Massage Therapists and work to find opportunities for massage therapy within the current healthcare system and pursue opportunities in new initiatives.