January 13, 2022
The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) regulates the massage therapy profession in BC. CMTBC is legally required under the Health Professions Act (“Act”) to “establish and employ registration, inquiry and discipline procedures that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair”.
As can be seen from a notice on CMTBC’s website, as well as from recent publicly-filed court materials, Glenn Kukkee was disciplined in October 2020 for professional and/or sexual misconduct, which included consensual sexual relationships with more than one patient. The seriousness of this misconduct was reflected in a 17-month suspension of Mr. Kukkee’s registration, as well the requirement that he take other remedial steps to mitigate future risk.
Mr. Kukkee’s registration lapsed at the end of 2020 for non-payment of his annual renewal fee; this cancellation was unconnected to his discipline history. In February 2021, Mr. Kukkee applied for reinstatement of registration following the administrative cancellation at the end of 2020. In view of Mr. Kukkee’s regulatory history, his application was referred to the Registration Committee, which considered extensive evidence. Ultimately, the Registration Committee placed a permanent limit and condition on Mr. Kukkee’s practice which prohibits him from ever again being allowed to treat female patients. This disposition was made having regard to an independent medical expert’s evidence on risk to female patients. The expert found no evidence of risk to male patients.
The College’s statutory obligation to be “objective, impartial and fair” requires that the regulatory consequences be proportionate and based on the evidence before the College. On the evidence before the Discipline Committee and subsequently the Registration Committee, Mr. Kukkee’s conduct was serious and the severity of the conduct was reflected in the 17-month suspension of Mr. Kukkee’s registration, the remedial requirements that were imposed and, subsequently, the permanent ban on treating female patients imposed by the Registration Committee. The legal duty to be fair also means that the College can only make decisions on the basis of evidence gathered through the complaints and investigation process mandated by the Act. This process requires that complainants come forward and be willing to be interviewed by a CMTBC investigator and, if required, give evidence at a hearing. CMTBC understands that this can be difficult and even re-traumatizing for complainants, and has provided its investigators and committee members with training in trauma-informed investigative practices.
CMTBC takes seriously all allegations of misconduct by RMTs, particularly sexual misconduct, and investigates them thoroughly. CMTBC encourages any person with a complaint about an RMT to bring that complaint forward. Complainants’ names are protected from public disclosure; however, CMTBC is legally obligated to share complainant names, and the substance of the complaint, with the RMT under investigation. Callers who are simply seeking information about the process may contact CMTBC anonymously, but must be prepared to provide their names if and when they decide to file a complaint.