CMTBC’s 2018 Annual General Meeting was held Friday, June 15, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Vancouver – Centre (Broadway).
As part of the College’s commitment to provide more and better communication and transparency, CMTBC documented the AGM in videos, separated into the individual AGM agenda items:
(1) Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition – moved by Jamie Johnston, RMT
(2) Mandatory On-line Course Accommodation – moved by Sandra Coldwell, RMT
(3) Prerequisites for Entry into a Massage Therapy Program in BC – moved by Alison Coolican, RMT
(4) Revising CEC Requirements within a Cycle and Reinstatement of Clinical Instruction for PD Credit – moved by Nancy Brock, RMT
(5) Mid-Cycle Quality Assurance Requirements – moved by Anne Horng, RMT
(6) Practice Consultant Advisor – moved by Anne Horng, RMT
(7) Clarity of CMTBC Position on Biopsychosocial Model – moved by Lizette Tucker, RMT
(8) Consultation with Stakeholders – moved by Damon Marchand, RMT
The following are the CMTBC Board’s responses to the eight resolutions raised by registrants at the AGM (PDF):
In November 2018, CMTBC launched a significantly revamped process and accompanying resources for applicants seeking to become BC RMTs through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) pathway. The PLA process is for individuals who are not either a graduate of a recognized massage therapy education program in BC or an RMT registered in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, or New Brunswick.
Key components of the PLA process, which replaces the previous Credential and Prior Learning Assessment (CPLA) process, include:
Individuals complete the OSAT on CMTBC’s Applicant Portal. The CCA is completed in-person in Vancouver. CMTBC has posted a video clearly explaining the PLA process, and a full script (PDF) of the video.
The College, therefore, has developed a robust PLA process, supported by comprehensive resources. The process ensures that applicants have demonstrated substantial equivalence by successfully completing assessments in the PLA, and again in the registration examination. The process is also specifically designed for the practice of massage therapy in BC, and is not modeled on prior learning assessment processes of other health professions, which have different requirements such as university prerequisites.
CMTBC provides accommodation for RMTs who experience difficulty taking the College’s online courses for reasons that are recognized under BC human rights law. (Federal human rights legislation, referred to in the resolution, is not applicable to CMTBC, which operates within provincial legislative jurisdiction.) The learning management software used by CMTBC – Brightspace by D2L – is an industry-leading product that provides features allowing, for example, the accommodation of visually- and hearing-impaired course takers. Additionally, RMTs who are legally entitled to accommodation are given extensive support by College staff.
To the extent that the resolution raises the issue of RMTs who do not suffer from a legally-recognized disability, but who may have limited computer literacy and/or access to computers, it is important to note that this is a relatively rare circumstance, and is not one that triggers a duty to accommodate as a legal obligation. Nonetheless, RMTs may attempt each online course up to three times, and are provided with additional resources for their second and third attempts. In the rare cases where an RMT is unsuccessful after the third attempt, College staff will work to find an alternative way to administer the course and/or the exam.
The resolution asks that CMTBC work with stakeholders including educational programs to add prerequisites for entry in massage therapy education programs. While CMTBC acknowledges that the intent of the resolution is to enhance depth and breadth of knowledge in the education programs, the College has no jurisdiction over education programs. Education programs are able to set their own prerequisites and entrance requirements.
CMTBC’s entry-to-practice requirements determine the knowledge requirements for entry-level RMT practice, and set the requirements for the entry-to-practice registration examination. The College’s relationship with education programs relates to its mandate under the Health Professions Act to determine the education required of individuals who wish to practice as RMTs. CMTBC’s Board recognizes massage therapy education programs for the purpose of registration, and specifies the recognized programs in Schedule “A” of the College’s Bylaws. The College also administers the registration examination, which has remained consistent in its content since the early 2000s.
The purpose of continuing education is that it extends entry-level knowledge and competence. By definition, applicants for registration must demonstrate entry-level knowledge and competence (by passing CMTBC’s entrance examination) in order to become a BC RMT. It therefore does not make sense, and never did (even if this had been the practice in the past), for the College to award CE credits to instructors providing entry-level educational content. For reasons of transparency and fairness, the decision to discontinue awarding such credits was communicated to all recognized BC massage therapy education programs. While CMTBC acknowledges it was not ideal to make this change within a cycle, the practice had originally been instituted at a staff level, and once the Quality Assurance Committee became aware of it, the Committee decided that as a matter of principle the practice should not be continued.
As a general proposition, however, CMTBC agrees that mid-cycle changes to QA requirements are to be avoided. The College does not anticipate that further changes of this nature are likely to occur.
CMTBC agrees that the creation of a practice advisor position is desirable, while noting at the same time that the implicit premise of the resolution – i.e. that College staff never provide practice advice – is incorrect. College senior staff, in particular the Director of Professional Practice and the Director of Inquiry and Discipline, are regularly consulted and in dialogue with RMTs regarding professional and practice issues. The Registrar/CEO has also had direct contact with RMTs on multiple occasions.
That said, the Board is supportive in principle of the creation of a practice advisor position, while noting budgetary implications. These include salary, the question of whether CMTBC’s current office space is sufficient, and the fact that the budget for 2019 is now approved (without provision for this position). Accordingly, the Registrar will continue to consider the options for the creation of a new practice advisor position, and will report to the Board, who will consider this for possible implementation in the next budget year (beginning January 1, 2020).
CMTBC understands the biopsychosocial (BPS) model to be an approach to health, not specific to massage therapy, which considers biological, physiological, psychological, and social factors. CMTBC does not take formal positions on health models, as doing so is not part of the College’s mandate to regulate the massage therapy profession in the public interest to ensure that BC RMTs deliver safe, ethical, and effective treatment.
That said, the two documents that outline entry-level requirements for beginning RMTs in BC incorporate elements that fall within the BPS model. The Inter-Jurisdictional Practice Competencies and Performance Indicators for Massage Therapists at Entry-to-Practice (PCs-PIs) (PDF) document includes practice competencies that are consistent with the BPS model, such as: recognizing “when patients may benefit from community services”, and incorporating “relevant assessment data, research evidence, and clinical experience into development of a patient / client centred treatment plan.” The Guidelines for Foundational Knowledge in Massage Therapy Educational Programs (GFK) (PDF) document also includes elements that fall within the BPS model, such as the performance objectives for communication; ethical, professional, and legal issues; and understanding pain and stress. Therefore it is not necessary to update the PCs-PIs and GFK documents to incorporate the BPS model.
The word “stakeholder” does not have a clear and precise definition, and must be interpreted by CMTBC in light of its primary statutory mandate to protect the public and to act in the public interest at all times. CMTBC’s stakeholders could be said to include the public; the College’s registrants; applicants for registration and exam candidates; other regulated health professions in BC and their regulatory bodies constituted under the Health Professions Act; the BC Ministry of Health, which exercises oversight over CMTBC and other health profession regulators in BC; other Canadian statutory massage therapy regulators, i.e. those in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland/Labrador; third-party health insurance companies; and massage therapy professional associations both in BC (two) and elsewhere in Canada. CMTBC is in regular contact with all of these individuals and entities, in order to maintain currency with ongoing developments in massage therapy regulation, health care regulation, and professional regulation generally. However, the development of documents such as standards of practice and the code of ethics is part of CMTBC’s statutory public-interest mandate, and is not work to be done in collaboration with any professional association, including the RMTABC, as professional associations do not exercise a public-interest mandate (nor do they have any duty to do so). For this reason, it is critical to distinguish between consultation (which is positive) and collaboration (which can be problematic).
CMTBC is in the process of developing new standards of practice, and as part of that practice, has instituted the practice of posting proposed new standards in draft form for review and comment by RMTs and well as by interested members of the public. The first time this was done, with the new Boundaries Standard of Practice, CMTBC received a substantial amount of feedback, much of which was incorporated and formed part of the final standard approved by the Board. The Board has clearly indicated that it approves of this process, and is supportive of any consultation that advances CMTBC’s public-interest mandate.