Nova Scotia

Province bringing in regulations for who can be called a massage therapist

Calling yourself a massage therapist soon won't be enough to make you one in Nova Scotia.

Legislation intended to protect the public, allow regulation of the profession

Without legislation, anyone in Nova Scotia has been able to call themselves a massage therapist or registered massage therapist. (Robert Short/CBC)

Calling yourself a massage therapist soon won't be enough to make you one in Nova Scotia.

Health Minister Randy Delorey introduced legislation Friday that would regulate who can use the title massage therapist or registered massage therapist and outlines the work someone must do to meet that requirement.

"The purpose behind that is to ensure the public has confidence that the people they're visiting to receive massage therapy are trained professionals," Delorey said during a bill briefing at Province House.

There are about 1,500 massage therapists in the province registered with one of three associations. Delorey said recent concerns related to a massage therapist who is facing nine charges of sexual assault led to steps intended to protect the public and the profession's reputation, something the industry has requested for a while.

The legislation will mean before someone can use the title they must complete at least 2,200 hours of coursework from a recognized institution, have professional liability insurance, be a member in good standing with an association, submit a criminal record check to the association and submit an annual declaration to their association.

Fines not possible without legislation

Anyone who contravenes the act will face a fine of up to $15,000 for a first offence and up to $30,000 for each subsequent offence. Without legislation, there has been no mechanism for the government or associations to regulate and govern the profession.

Amy-Lynne Graves, president of the Massage Therapists Association of Nova Scotia, said the bill provides an extra layer of protection for the public from people who aren't qualified to provide massage therapy.

"I feel like every health profession has different people that are encroaching on their profession," she said.

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About the Author

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca

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