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CMTBC revises Code of Ethics to provide RMTs with an option to terminate a therapeutic relationship when they are discriminated against or placed at risk of harm by a patient

CMTBC has revised the section of the College’s Code of Ethics that outlines circumstances in which an RMT may immediately terminate the therapeutic relationship with a patient.

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

Section 17 of the Code of Ethics has been revised, effective November 1, 2023. It now states that an RMT may immediately terminate the therapeutic relationship with any patient who:

  1. sexualizes or attempts to sexualize the treatment or environment,
  2. directly or indirectly acts in a discriminatory manner, and/or
  3. harasses, abuses, or threatens the RMT, or otherwise engages in behaviour that places the RMT at risk of harm.

Background to the Code of Ethics revisions

During the May 11, 2023 meeting of the CMTBC Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism (ICSHAR) Advisory Group, members of the Advisory Group discussed situations encountered in their RMT practice relating to Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism. The members described situations in which they had been made to feel unsafe and/or discriminated against either by  racist remarks or other behaviour on the part of the patient. Advisory Group members expressed concerns about the obligation to continue to provide treatment in such circumstances.

In response to those concerns, CMTBC staff reviewed Section 17 of the Code of Ethics, which prior to the revisions, did not provide for situations described by Advisory Group members.

The College also conducted an environmental scan of other BC health profession regulatory colleges’ Code of Ethics, practice standards, bylaws, or other guidance that allow the immediate termination of the therapeutic relationship on the basis of abusive, discriminatory, or racist comments made by the patient. The scan revealed that a number of other BC health profession regulatory colleges have provisions under which a health care practitioner may terminate the therapeutic relationship immediately based on patient conduct.

Following the Code of Ethics review and environmental scan, CMTBC proposed revisions to Section 17 of the Code, which the CMTBC Board approved on August 25, 2023.

Code of Ethics revisions and Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism

These revisions to the Code of Ethics address situations such as those described by members of the ICSHAR Advisory Group and provide RMTs with an option to terminate the therapeutic relationship in situations where they are discriminated against or placed at risk of harm by their patient. The revisions support the ICSHAR Standard of Practice by underpinning RMTs’ ability to cultivate a culturally safe environment for all patients to receive treatment in.

For further information on terminating a therapeutic relationship, see the Resources for Registrants, Terminating a Therapeutic Relationship page.

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