The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (referred to as the College, or CMTO) is the regulator established by the provincial government to regulate the practice of Massage Therapy and to govern the conduct of Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) in the province of Ontario through the provisions of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.
Not to be confused with a school that teaches Massage Therapy, or the membership-based professional association (the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario), CMTO is one of 26 regulatory Colleges that oversee their respective health professions in this province, as set out in the RHPA.
CMTO is dedicated to excellence in protecting the public’s interest, guiding its registrants and promoting the highest possible quality of the practice of Massage Therapy.
History of the Profession
Massage Therapy came into increased prominence during World War I as Canada helped to care for its soldiers overseas. Orthopaedic centres, devoted to conditions involving the musculoskeletal system, were among the many makeshift hospitals set up during this time. These centres began offering hydrotherapy and massage to injured soldiers.
Over the span of World War I, nearly 2,000 soldiers were treated daily with massage, establishing Massage Therapy as a necessary and valued form of healthcare. CMTO has been regulating Massage Therapy in this province since 1919.
The primary function of the College is to act in the interest of the public and to ensure the quality of Massage Therapy practice. This means setting and enforcing the standards of practice and professional conduct for all RMTs in Ontario. To meet these criteria, the College has the following responsibilities which stem from needs identified by the public and outlined in legislation:
Registration and Certification
- Develop, establish and maintain standards of qualification for individuals to whom certificates of registration are issued; and
- Administer certification exams and issue certificates of registration and registration renewals.
- Develop, establish and maintain programs and standards of practice to assure the quality of the practice of the profession;
- Develop, establish and maintain standards of knowledge and skill, and programs to promote continuing evaluation, competence and improvement amongst registrants;
- Develop, establish and maintain standards of professional ethics for the RMTs;
- Ensure that registrants comply with all relevant legislation governing the profession and their practice;
- Provide courses and workshops to registrants;
- Provide practice advice to registrants; and
- Promote and fund Massage Therapy research.
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- Investigate fitness to practise, concerns and complaints received about RMTs in a fair and ethical manner;
- Conduct discipline hearings and discipline registrants found to have committed an act of professional misconduct or incompetence; and
- Inform the public about illegal practitioners.
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- Maintain a public register of RMTs and other information about the profession to assist the public in choosing an RMT for care; and
- Provide funding for therapy and counselling in the event that a client is abused by an RMT.
The College is directed by a policy-making Board known as the Council, consisting of College registrants elected by their peers in nine districts across the province (professional members), as well as members of the public (public members) who are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
The responsibilities of Council are supported by a number of statutory Committees, required by legislation, and College staff in various departments.
The appointment of public members ensures that the focus is maintained on the needs of the public in all decisions made by CMTO’s Council.
Massage Therapy is one of 26 self-regulating health professions in Ontario. Self-regulation is a model of regulation in which the public of Ontario, through legislation, grants the profession the ability to develop the rules that govern the profession. Without question, self-regulation is a privilege.
This privilege is maintained by focusing on the public interest and by continuous commitment to place the needs of the clients of Massage Therapy before the interests of the profession.