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College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia statement on accreditation of massage therapy education programs

Introduction

On March 4, 2019, the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA) released a statement entitled “Important update about CMTCA accreditation services”. This statement announced that CMTCA has signed multi-year funding agreements with the provincial colleges regulating massage therapy in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The CMTCA statement also announced that its accreditation services in all other provinces except Alberta were suspended on March 1 (with Alberta to follow on June 1).

CMTBC has been asked why it is not presently providing funding to CMTCA. The full answer to that question is complex, especially given the multi-year relationship between the two organizations. However, in response to those who have made inquiries, CMTBC has prepared the brief statement below.

CMTBC position on accreditation of massage therapy education programs

One of CMTBC’s statutory objects under the Health Professions Act is to “establish the conditions or requirements for registration of a person as a member of the college” (section 16(2)(c)). The HPA also grants colleges the power to make bylaws that “specify academic or technical programs that are recognized by the college” as meeting standards of academic achievement.

CMTBC is committed to fulfilling its statutory mandate, and understands that a rigorous process for delivering accreditation of the academic content and program delivery of massage therapy education is in the public interest. Accreditation ensures that registrants enter professional practice with the foundational knowledge and the practical competencies that allow them to provide safe and effective health care to the public.

Since its inception, CMTBC has carried out its statutory function of program recognition by operating its own accreditation process. This was necessary given the absence of any other provincial or national body that conducted accreditation of massage therapy education programs. In 2017, the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation began operations, and CMTBC worked with CMTCA to assist in the transition of BC schools to CMTCA accreditation, while continuing to recognize its own existing multi-year accreditation agreements with BC schools (most of which continue to be in effect). 

Concurrently, CMTBC expressed concerns about CMTCA’s proposed funding model, which called for a very different level of funding from massage therapists in regulated and unregulated provinces (this was changed at the beginning of 2019). CMTBC has also expressed concerns about the level of transparency provided by CMTCA regarding its operations and governance.

Notwithstanding these concerns, CMTBC is deeply supportive of the goal of national accreditation of massage therapy education programs. CMTBC was instrumental in the creation and development of CMTCA, recognized CMTCA’s accreditation standards in 2017, and assisted CMTCA in arranging the transition of two BC schools from CMTBC to CMTCA accreditation. CMTBC is committed to resolving the current stalemate, and plans to organize a facilitated meeting with local stakeholders later in 2019. CMTBC is working toward an outcome that protects the public and addresses the interests of BC stakeholders. Education programs recognized by CMTBC will be participants in the meeting.

In the interim, pending a final resolution, CMTBC is fully committed to continuing to provide massage therapy education program accreditation services for any BC educational institution that requires such services.

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