Saskatoon

Sask. massage therapists say unregulated profession putting public at risk

People who use massage therapists are at risk because the province hasn't yet regulated the profession, says the executive director of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan.

Association points to allegations of sexual assault against former therapist

Lori Green, executive director of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan, says the province is putting people at risk. (CBC)

People who use massage therapists are at risk because the province hasn't yet regulated the profession, says the executive director of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan.

"For the past two years, the provincial government has had draft legislation ready to introduce that would regulate massage therapists in Saskatchewan, just as they are in many other provinces," said Lori Green.

Green said the association expected the legislation to be introduced this fall. 

But that hasn't happened because, as the Ministry of Health said in an emailed statement, "While we have seen some progress, stakeholders were unable to agree on certain key issues, particularly how to grandfather current practitioners into a new regulatory college."

"Given that consensus has not been reached, it would be premature to introduce legislation at this time."

Former therapist nets another charge

Green spoke outside Saskatoon provincial court on Tuesday, where former massage therapist Mark Donlevy received yet another charge. He is now facing nine allegations of sexual assault, dating from when he operated a massage business from his home.

Donlevy pleaded not guilty.

He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for January.

Assoc. feels options to deal with misconduct limited

The massage association has a code of ethics and standards and practices for its 800 members. But Green said there is no way to make sure all therapists meet the standard.

"What happens here is we have no real teeth, we have no law or regulation behind us, so at best all we can do is remove somebody from our membership," she said.

Green said she cannot understand why the province is not coming forward with the legislation. It already regulates other health-care professions, like chiropractors and physiotherapists.

"Why wouldn't they want the same for massage therapists? Why wouldn't the government move forward and protect the public?"

The Ministry of Health insists that the provincial government is still working on regulating massage therapists in Saskatchewan.


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