New Brunswick

Massage therapy students must take exam, judge rules

A Court of Queen's Bench judge has ruled that a group of graduating massage therapy students must take a controversial standardized test next weekend.

Students hoped to stop college from forcing them to take test that 47 of 48 students failed last year

A Court of Queen's Bench judge has ruled that a group of graduating massage therapy students must take a controversial standardized test next weekend.

A group of the massage therapy students waited anxiously outside the Fredericton courthouse Friday afternoon, hoping Justice Judy Clendening would give their final exam a failing grade. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)
Justice Judy Clendening denied a request by a group of students for an injunction on Friday, saying that if it were granted, every group of graduating massage therapy students would request the same thing.

There is no evidence the students will suffer irreparable harm by taking the test, she said.

Of the 48 students who took the test last November, 47 failed.

Under the rules of the recently formed New Brunswick College of Massage Therapists, students must pass the final exam in order to legally practise massage therapy in the province.

The group of 53 students had filed a lawsuit, hoping to block the college from making them take the test, which was only introduced last year.

But Clendening noted that the lawyer representing the college told the courtroom that the licensing body has reworked the test, after many people failed it last time.

Kelly Lamrock, the lawyer representing the students, had argued that if the goal of the test is public safety, there was no evidence presented that the college knows best.

The schools the students attended are already regulated by the province and the instructors have had years of training.

By comparison, the test examiners only received five days of training, he said.

In addition, the students are at the most economically vulnerable times of their lives, said Lamrock.

If they have to take the test, they will have to wait six to eight weeks for the results and won't be able to work during that time, the courtroom heard.

Some students, such as Chelsea Thibault, who graduates from Atlantic College on Saturday, told CBC News they have already lost out on jobs because of the test uncertainty.

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