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Code of Ethics

Purpose

The Code of Ethics outlines the expectations for ethical massage therapy practice.

When faced with an ethical dilemma, massage therapists are responsible for exercising their professional judgement in accordance with their duties under this code.

Definitions

1. In this code:

“conflict of interest” means a situation where:

  1. a massage therapist’s personal interest, or
  2. the interests of any person that is related to or closely associated with a massage therapist,

may affect or influence, or reasonably be perceived to affect or influence, a massage therapist’s clinical treatment of a patient;

“former patient” means a patient whose therapeutic relationship with a massage therapist was terminated;

“sexual misconduct” means:

  1. sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between a massage therapist and a patient,
  2. touching, of a sexual nature, of a patient by a massage therapist,
  3. behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a massage therapist towards a patient, or
  4. sexualizing the treatment environment,

but does not include touching, behaviour and remarks by a massage therapist to a patient that are of a clinical nature appropriate to the massage therapy service being provided.

Duty to Patients

General Duties

2. Massage therapists must act in the best interest of the patient.

3. Massage therapists must recognize and disclose any conflicts of interest that may arise in the therapeutic relationship and resolve them in the patient’s best interest.

4. Massage therapists must treat the patient with respect and uphold the patient’s dignity.

5. Massage therapists must not facilitate or engage in fraudulent billing activities.

Treatment

6. Massage therapists must be aware of and comply with human rights legislation when determining whether to accept new patients and in the treatment of current patients.

7. Massage therapists must not recommend therapeutic services that do not have a reasonable benefit for the patient.

8. Massage therapists must provide complete and accurate information to enable the patient to make an informed decision regarding the need for, and nature of, therapeutic services. This includes answering any questions that the patient may have, in an understandable manner.

9. Massage therapists must obtain informed consent for therapeutic services.

10. Massage therapists must maintain a safe and healthy treatment environment.

11. Massage therapists must not claim that a treatment, or use of certain equipment, will provide a cure, and must not guarantee therapeutic value to a patient. 

Competency

12. Massage therapists must practice competently and within the limits of their knowledge and skills.

13. Massage therapists are responsible for continuing to develop their own level of competence.

14. Massage therapists are responsible for recognizing their personal and practice limitations.

15. Massage therapists must not practice massage therapy while their ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

16. Massage therapists must request consultation or refer a patient to colleagues or other health care professionals when such actions are in the best interest of the patient.

Privacy and Confidentiality

17. Massage therapists must be aware of and comply with all applicable laws regarding the collection, use, disclosure and access to patients’ personal information.

18. Massage therapists must avoid public discussions or comments about a patient that could reasonably be seen as revealing confidential information, except with the patient’s consent. 

Boundaries

19. Massage therapists must set and maintain appropriate professional boundaries with a patient.

20. Massage therapists must refrain from taking advantage of a patient for the massage therapist’s own personal, sexual, emotional, social, political, or financial interest or benefit.

21. Massage therapists must not engage in sexual misconduct with a patient.

22. A massage therapist must refrain from entering into a close personal relationship with a former patient unless:

  1. a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the therapeutic relationship with the former patient was terminated, and
  2. the massage therapist is reasonably satisfied that the power differential inherent in a therapeutic relationship no longer exists.

Terminating the Therapeutic Relationship

23. Massage therapists must continue to treat patients until:

  1. therapy is no longer indicated or wanted,
  2. another health care professional has assumed primary care responsibility, or
  3. written notice of the intended termination has been provided to the patient.

24. Despite section 23(iii), a massage therapist may immediately terminate the therapeutic relationship with any patient that:

  1. sexualizes or attempts to sexualize the treatment or environment, or
  2. threatens the massage therapist or otherwise endangers the massage therapist.

Duty to Society

25. Massage therapists must comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to the practice of massage therapy.

26. Massage therapists must use public and private healthcare resources prudently in the care of patients.

Duty to the Profession

27. Massage therapists must recognize that professional self-regulation is a privilege that each massage therapist has a continuing responsibility to merit by upholding the honour, dignity and credibility of the profession.

28. Massage therapists must respond to any inquiries, requests and directions from the College in a professional, responsive and timely manner.

29. Massage therapists must conduct themselves in a manner as to merit the respect of society for the profession, massage therapists, and other health care professionals.

30. Massage therapists must collaborate with other health care professionals when appropriate.

31. Massage therapists must participate in peer reviews and mentorships when required.

Duty to Oneself

32. Massage therapists must protect and maintain personal and professional integrity.

33. Massage therapists must maintain personal health and well-being.

34. Massage therapists must seek assistance from qualified professionals for personal problems that may adversely impact the duties to patients, society or the profession.

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