Written by a
*Former Social Work Diploma student at Mount Royal University
*Former Registered Emergency Medical Responder and member of the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) for one year
*Former Registered Massage Therapist (now demoted to Spa Practitioner) for 9 years &
*Current Registered Manual Osteopathic and Spa Therapist with the Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Therapists Association since 2012 (CMMOTA formerly Remedial Massage Therapist Association)
*Volunteer for 4 years serving on the board of directors for not only CMMOTA but also the Transitional Council for College of Massage Therapists of Alberta
I feel like my message is important for every Regulated profession, Canadian Massage Therapist, and Registered Massage Therapist, Registered Nurse, Osteopath, Osteopathic practitioner, or prospective student in Osteopathy and Massage to hear!
There continues to be FIRED health care practitioners in British Columbia today on this date April 10, 2023 – medical professionals who have not been hired back after simply refusing MEDICAL MANDATES implemented since 2021. I repeat, CANADIAN CITIZENS refused an injection after ALREADY working their careers for 2 years of a “pandemic” without said injection, no problem, are not allowed to work after loosing homes, mortgages and worse for standing up for medical autonomy.
The injection clearly does not work and the World Council for Health and Frontline Covid Care Center and my resource page can catch you up if you are behind in research. Keep telling yourself you got “less sick” than you would have without the injection thereby denying the fact that people experienced health issues from the jab, and with the influx of deaths this year by super safe, double, triple and quadruple injected people, and ask yourself why the sudden influx of heart problems of young people- talking to YOU, Doctor.
I was proud and grateful to be an RMT for over 9 years in Alberta, but my long-term goal had always been to move to British Columbia, the when and how were not known because in moving I would have to take an entrance exam into College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia, and this was only truly understood AFTER I completed my education in Alberta, worked for some years and also volunteered to learn more about policies and procedures on the Board of Directors. An exam to continue a career after the career is established is unethical in my opinion, but to date, I have spent 3 years studying, $6000 and 2 medical procedures against my will, never mind the stress of the whole situation, so perhaps I’m bias.
The Alberta College of Massage Therapy, my school formerly Alberta Massage Training, taught up to the standards of the BC entrance exam, and I pride myself in receiving scores that were far above passing grades and often I was on the honor role . Despite Alberta not having a College, nor the need to take an additional exam after graduation, an Association accepts applicant’s based on their reputable school’s ability to grade performance. CMMOTA, formerly the Remedial Massage Therapists Association, now has a School Approval System just for this.
Only regulated provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and PEI require an additional OSCE and written exam in addition to their finals in school, to join their established College. There was another Association in Alberta requiring an entrance exam at the time of graduation in 2012, but it had nothing to do with a College, and this Association eventually rid of the policy, I suspect due to poor application rates and lowered membership numbers
The point is, major insurance companies such as Blue Cross, Sunlife, Canada Life, Manulife, Green Shield, etc in Alberta depend upon the 5 Associations to set the standards for practitioners to meet, and the membership requirements ensure policies, standards, and continuance of education are monitored and adhered to to ensure due diligence in practitioner efficacy in absence of the College. The same is true for the many other unregulated provinces, but I’m speaking on behalf of my experience specifically with the Canadian Massage and Manual Osteopathic Therapists Association, and my verification of their commitment to the best standards of practice.
These major insurance companies reimbursed THEIR clients (my clients) for 9+ years of my career. Then, I move to BC, people in BC will not receive reimbursement for the same massage treatment. AB clients with coverage of the SAME INSURANCE COMPANIES will continue receiving reimbursement, for now at least. Unless you allow Regulation happen.
Then not only will you red tape your massage career to death, you can also anticipate medical mandates that may just go against your will in the future. People stood up, and said no to medical procedures, and if you are unaltered until it effects you, I’m sorry that people cared enough for your health and you can’t return the favor. And if you have done nothing to stand up for the injustice brought upon Canadian citizens such as simply attend a Convoy, there were many, just to learn more about what people were trying to say, you do not deserve health care professionals. If you bad mouthed the proud, flag flying, horn honking, medical freedom loving people without having talked to anyone yourself, and okayed injections on people who said no, than you are the reason your doctor retired.
If an Association can keep relations with insurance in one province, why the need for a College? I would argue a good Association is just as concerned about public health. I want to get into the negative impact of people relying on their medical insurance to give them enough coverage and ability to use their insurance on things that matter, but hopefully every individual will experience the truth and fact that insurance always makes money, and coverage will be reduced for those who use it. Do not let your insurance dictate what health decisions you make.
What is the Role of Regulation and does it have any business in Osteopathic Medicine?
Regulation is a broad term for the standardized governing of a field of knowledge by a Commission or College. In medicine, standards help keep patients and practitioners healthy and secure. The role of regulation should always be to protect individual rights. However, it can be and has been used as a tool to coerce behavior and put “public safety” over the needs of the patient.
Now, public safety sounds like an admirable reason to revoke the rights of an individual. In fact, most of us have at some point in our lives made sacrifices to ensure the safety of the people around us. However, when “public safety” is used as a threat, and people who disagree with the findings of government-funded research are seen as dissenters, we label them a danger to society. They are silenced and their evidence is ignored. The truth is that much like the terms, “the greater good” or “the will of the people”, “public safety” can be a blank cheque for authoritarianism.
Recently, The College of Psychologists of Ontario attempted to remove the license of one of their members, Jordan Peterson, due to multiple anonymous complaints, none of which have been from a former client of Jordan Peterson, as discussed in his recent recorded conversation with Mikala Peterson. Due to his activity on Twitter and specifically, his “refusal to use people’s preferred pronouns.” which was a broad statement clarified over SEVERAL podcasts for context, and not targeted to any specific person, on Twitter he simply posted “Boys are not girls”. While one may argue that he has no right to misgender people, no one can argue that the answer has been to censor him and force him into media conversion therapy.
Colleges have no jurisdiction over the personal lives of their practitioners. Otherwise, every doctor, nurse, and dentist could be brought up for some form of insensitivity or political incorrectness. We cannot walk on eggshells, praying that our overseers will approve of our every action and discussion. Democracy demands freedom of speech and beyond that, there are issues within the jurisdiction of Colleges that need to be addressed. For now, Osteopathy is not regulated in Canada aside from the Osteopath physicians
Back to Osteopathy and Massage- If you regulate AB, you can look forward to the governments ability to amalgamate Colleges WITHOUT ANY COLLEGE MEMBER’s VOTE.
Don’t believe me? Research why British Columbia Bill 36 has College members upset, and remember it is written in the legislation that members of the College are subject to medical mandates completely against the Charters of Rights. Physicians, Nurses, Massage Therapists, and Naturopaths all without a vote to have their Colleges to Amalgamate. Hopefully your Association was transparent enough to tell you how much funds to date have been spent in the process for working towards Regulation, now ask them how much they project it will be in the future! Add the math and then remember after all the years, money, and advocation, the government can simply come in, and say that your profession is no longer solely represented by said profession, now the opinions of numerous professions will interfere with the standards and policies, despite you and your colleagues funding the process.
Exhibit A- Ontario College of Massage therapists believes it falls under the scope of practices’ for their members to puncture the dermis. Cupping Therapy is okay.
Exhibit B- The British Columbia College of Massage Therapists believes it DOES NOT fall under the Massage Therapists scope of practice to puncture the dermis, neither does CUPPING THERAPY.
It can clearly be inferred, that the people making the decisions have different scopes, and education. In Ontario, a practitioner included their own scope of needling into the standards, but in BC they do not believe it falls under the scope of practice of RMT’s to puncture the dermis, but who is right? Personally, Red Flags go up to me when a physician, acupuncture or nurse has ANY kind of input in my standards as a Massage and Osteopathic Practitioner and yet, the GOVERNMENT has granted themselves the ability to amalgamate the Colleges in BC and therefore allow other professions the ability to dictate on particular aspects of other careers. How is that going to look in the future and with who making what decisions?
PS- the white paper documents were known about in Alberta for years before the Bill 36 or COVID showed up, ample time to have discussions about the bill and most certainly some votes by College members.
In my Experience
Earlier in my career, as a Registered Massage Therapist in Alberta, Albertan schools have their own standards of practice, but there is no single College to regulate practitioners. I volunteered as the president of CMMOTA for experience and we developed new regulations for the province and the process gave me an inside look at how solutions can be found for common errors of practice. As a team, we had to troubleshoot the various issues our practitioners would be faced with based on our own experience in the field. We also had to research best practices and apply the findings of our own studies.
British Columbia has a centralized standard of practice, but the culture in this province leans far closer to socialism than Alberta, meaning practitioners are more willing to give up their autonomy for “public safety”. This isn’t a problem, so long as we can point to evidence every time we desire a change in protocol.
At this point in time, Osteopathy is free from central planning. I used to advocate for regulation, prior to, during, and even after my experience on the board of CMMOTA. However, in light of our government’s response to Covid, specifically, when the people said NO to more mandates and the government laid out plans to mandate future inoculations for practitioners in the BC Bill 36, and the current overstep of The CPO, it is time to critically consider the role of Colleges.
Nowhere in a health practitioner’s contract do they swear to keep their heads down and display only the College-approved line of thinking. Nowhere in the Hippocratic oath, do healthcare practitioners swear to abide by rules that go against their knowledge of best practices. I personally experienced injury after both, but especially my second dose of the mRNA vaccine and so have dozens of my clients and even more of their family members. I do not agree that we can stigmatize and penalize people for their healthcare choices and I do not believe regulation should be used to infringe on individual rights.
When implemented properly, regulation:
- Makes sense
- Increases efficiency
- Save lives
When improperly implemented, regulation:
- Is baseless
- Stalls procedure
- Costs lives
The key to understanding when and where regulation is needed is to determine where errors are made and what solutions are available for practitioners. Take, for example, the need to sanitize the room between patients. It makes sense since sick people are in contact with the bed and materials. It increases efficiency because fewer diseases will be transmitted, and thus it saves lives.
If we look back at every retail store, restaurant, and waiting room that decided they had to use sanitizer between every visitor, we can see this was baseless when the majority of spreaders were in hospitals, airports, and large events. The increase in demand for sanitizer meant that key industries faced a break in their supply and this cost lives wherever medical staff had to go without. The same is true for wiping down groceries. Unfortunately, central planning doesn’t always breed rational procedures.
Incredible waste is created by inefficient rules, as we saw with Canada’s response to Covid, where a new wave of single-use products like pens, masks, and test units was added to our landfills. Top that off with user error and it’s easy to see what the results will be where fear trumps common sense.
The tightest lockdowns and vaccination policies cannot always keep people safe. Is the solution to crack down even harder on those who go unvaxxed? Is the solution to incite a state of emergency in order to impose regulation on provincial sectors like healthcare?
No. The solution is to gather information from experts in the field and to listen to the advice of professionals, not politicians. The solution is to create an air-around regulation that makes it easier to raise concerns, particularly when the desired result is not achieved with current methods. Regulation needs to remain scrutable and flexible for improvements.
What is the Role of Practitioners in Regulation?
One of the most critical parts of becoming a medical practitioner is taking a Hippocratic Oath. Providing evidence of beneficence and not any maleficence is exceptionally important. It is setting your principles to guide assessment, treatment, and bedside manner. One tenet is to do no harm. Every healthcare practitioner should vow to do all in their power not to put their patients at risk of illness or injury. Another is to keep patient confidentiality. No patient should fear having their medical history shared with third parties.
The stated reason Medical Colleges exist is to mandate public health policy for all of their practitioners. These mandates ought to be the most up-to-date standards of practice, meaning they are subject to change as advancements are made. For example right now in BC, community nurses are running the show and achieving results for their patients. Colleges can make a name for themselves and their constituents by having impressive results and satisfied, healthy clients. The best kind of regulation is rational, straightforward, and based on up-to-date research in the field.
No policy on healthcare can be made without the input of trained, reputable practitioners. The most educated politicians cannot know how to respond to a medical emergency unless they’ve had years of training and a long medical career. To be frank, faith and supposition have no place in regulation.
The role of regulation should be to empower individual practitioners to make decisions based on their patient’s history and presentation.
Continued opportunity for growth and education is the way of the future, not finding rules and therefore reasons for practitioners to be not practicing in compliance with their standards. Standards are ever changing and improving, but should not be the fallback reason for why someone is not following protocol. Clear outlines are fabulous- but take for example the Canadian Massage and Manual osteopathic Therapist Association’s Laundry cleaning standards, and this virus information video curtosy of the Healing Cacoon. Virus spread from laundry, can you imagine? Well now lets recounts the endless times a massage therapist had to release the bollus of sheets that sticks together in the wash and dryer if we just stick rolled up sheet in the wash. there has to be a degree of laundry shake in order to wash well, and yet this will technically spread virus/bacteria at an alarming rate, and yet it’s been common practice and no one dies from laundry mishandling, and yet we could policy this to death.
Anything above and beyond the call of duty is up to the medical team on staff and the patient themself. It is impossible to expect a single-user manual to exist for every human body and doctors need the autonomy to make calls for screening, therapy, and medication.
It’s nice to think that the government is all-knowing, but without the brilliant minds of doctors and scientists, they know nothing. That is why we must not forget to hear the minds on both sides of an argument in order to formulate regulation. Regulation cannot be based on fear or knee-jerk reactions.
For example, broad stroke policy that aims to curtail transmission by shutting society down is pragmatic and leads to unintended consequences like:
-Canceled surgeries and procedures
-Rushed pharmaceuticals and vaccines
-Lack of funding for other healthcare needs
-Stress and Isolation which deteriorate mental health
We incur new problems every time regulation oversteps the bounds of personal choice. The role of regulation in osteopathy is to assess and treat individual patients with an understanding of their particular contraindications and goals, then to advise a plan that is suitable for their specific needs.
There is no one-size-fits-all program, nor should there be. In all honesty, the reason osteopathy can be so effective is the lack of external controls over your treatment plan. Your practitioner should listen to your concerns and offer you their expertise. Red tape has no place in the treatment room.
REGULATE SCHOOLS BETTER
It was by mere luck that I even found a reputable school that was accepted by the Association, I googled perhaps a handful of schools, and I certainly was not aware that I’d have to join one of the four Associations, and that either Association had schools they would not approve graduates from.
How about we just ensure the schools are reputable, up to date on research producing ethical, competent graduates and for god sake, recognized at least across the COUNTRY?!?!?