Member Update June 25, 2020

The CRMTA Board would like to thank our members for their patience and understanding while we work diligently to process all the requests being received.  Below please find updates and information regarding guidelines, CE Credits, and a webinar through Telus Health. 

Massage Therapy Guidelines

Previous to June 12, 2020 massage therapy was to be placed in the Health Non-Essential Services category of the reopening.  Now that stage 2 has begun, massage therapy has been placed in the Wellness Services category of the reopening.  Please visit here for all updated information regarding guidelines for massage therapists.

Continuing Education Credits

Due to mass gathering restrictions CRMTA will be temporarily adjusting the allocation of continuing education credits on approved courses.  This will be implemented on June 22, 2020 and will be reassessed on September 1, 2020.  Courses submitted before June 22, 2020 will not be credited retroactively.

Primary Credited Courses:

Effective June 22, 2020 all online massage related courses will be credited with Primary Continuing Education Credits.

Secondary Credited Courses:

Effective June 22, 2020 all non-massage therapy related courses will continue receiving Secondary Continuing Education Credits.  These courses include but are not limited to business related courses, accounting courses, or courses that do not include a practical training component for massage therapy. 

CRMTA will continue to follow all Alberta Health Services and Provincial Government guidelines as we keep our members informed of any updates.  We thank all our members for their patience and understanding as we move toward reopening Alberta.

Webinar Workshop

3 Marketing Essentials to Help Restart your Practice

Telus Health is providing a webinar workshop that will be credited 2 secondary credits. 

When: July 16, 2020 at 12:00pm

Where: Online

If you register and miss this webinar, a link will be sent a few days after July 16, 2020 for you to replay the webinar.

COVID19 Massage Therapy Relaunch FAQs

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect my membership?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have no effect on your membership as we are all working from home, that has brought some adjustments to how we serve our members.  We are working through large volumes of emails, paperwork, questions, and requests coming in.  Below please find information on membership information.

  1. Current Active members with a renewal date in April and those that are up for renewal in May are currently being processed. Renewal notices for May and June are being emailed out over the next 7-10 days. We are processing the paperwork in the order in which it was received. Members will receive an emailed PDF of their insurance and CRMTA membership once processed. A physical copy can be requested when we return to the CRMTA office.  We will be prioritizing the renewals for Active members to alleviate a gap in insurance for those members. CRMTA will also be deferring police checks, CE Credits and First Aid requirements until each member’s 2021 annual renewal date.
  • Current Associate members who have recently reached 2200 hours of training and are looking to move into the Active status already have an insurance policy in place. While the industry as a whole is closed, we will be working to switch you over to Active status.  Rest assured it will be in line with the Stage 2 reopening plan and you should not have a delay in being able to practice when our industry has been reopened, as long as all other educational requirements have been met. More information to follow shortly. In an effort to support members, CRMTA will also be deferring police checks, CE Credits and First Aid requirements until each member’s 2021 annual renewal dates. Please know these deferrals will not affect your policy or ability to obtain your new status at this time.
  • Current Student members who have recently reached their first year 1250 hours of training and are looking to move into Associate status will be deferred about 30 days until we have a clearer picture of when Stage 2 of the Provincial Reopening Plan will begin.  Since student members will be receiving a brand-new insurance policy, there are no concerns about having gaps in insurance coverage. Therefore, waiting to switch from a student to associate membership until we have a clearer picture of the stage 2 reopening plan makes more sense to ensure that members making this transition will have closer to a full year of working coverage.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic affect my liability insurance?

If a therapist does not knowingly put a client or the public at risk they are protected.  To work in a situation that is unsafe falls under misconduct and would affect your insurance.

Can I deliver services online or by video communications?

CRMTA will allow virtual sessions for our members to provide home care and support during this time.  This is dependent on therapists utilizing this as a support service for their clients during the COVID19 pandemic.  We want to ensure that everyone can do their part to stay home until the serious public health emergency with Covid19 has officially ended.

This care method is not suitable for every client and as we are all aware massage therapy cannot be performed without the element of touch.  However, as therapists you can support your clients during this time with education and support on home care strategies. 

This is a great service to offer your clients during this time and may assist you with client retention upon reopening.  Some therapists will charge clients a small fee for video sessions and some will offer this as a free service to benefit and support their clients and business. Keep in mind therapists cannot bill this service as a full massage therapy session, for insurance covered services.

A Virtual Session can consist of the following:

  • Stretches and exercises- with awareness that you cannot ensure your client is correctly performing them and will need follow-up and reassessment.
  • Hydrotherapy such as hot/cold/contrast therapy can be recommended with using caution about any contraindications and risks. A health intake and clear instructions are vital.
  •   Client instruction on self-care using (foam rollers, balls, etc.) can be recommended but again with caution on usage and safety.
  • Self-massage can also be recommended with guidance on basic techniques that do not cause any injury.

Please note that your CRMTA liability insurance covers you for these areas of practice.  In no way do these suggestions replace that of a physiotherapist, chiropractor, kinesiology or fitness specialist.  We merely give basic guidance on options our clients can safely perform for their own care in between appointments to improve their conditions. 

Can I still treat family members during physical distancing?

You can treat your family members at home if they are in isolation with you.  Remember that treating family members is not recommended for insurance purposes.  At this time insurance is monitoring insurance submissions as massage has not been approved until Stage 2.

How is CRMTA supporting its members?

In an effort to support members, we are monitoring all announcements and how the pandemic is impacting our members and adjusting our measures as needed.  CRMTA will be deferring police checks, CE Credits and First Aid requirements until each member’s 2021 annual renewal dates. Please know these deferrals will not affect your policy or ability to obtain your new status at this time.

What kinds of Continuing Education programs can I do at home?

CRMTA is offering many online continuing educations programs that you can do at home. 

How can I meet my First Aid and CPR requirements with physical distancing?

In an effort to support members, CRMTA will be deferring police checks, CE Credits and First Aid requirements until each member’s 2021 annual renewal dates. Please know these deferrals will not affect your policy or ability to obtain your new status at this time.

Are there any First Aid providers offering online programs?

They can do an online Red Cross or St. Johns approved course.  Note this will require a deferred completion of the practical components at a later date.  CRMTA will be hosting this training when operations resume to assist our members. See a complete list of approved first aid providers here.

When can I return to work?

Alberta’s relaunch strategy has not given a set date or specifics on the Stage 2 relaunch.  We are aware that details will be dependent on the success and health indications determined in the Stage 1 relaunch.

Therefore, until we have this information it is hard to speculate on the outcomes and how that will affect therapists.  We do expect there will be new protocols that will affect therapists, and we will need to follow those guidelines and protocols as put forth by the Alberta government.  

At this time, the government has not yet released any indication as to the personal protective equipment (PPE) or safety guidelines that will be necessary for Stage 2. Please be aware that CRMTA is following all government updates as this information becomes available and will do our best to keep our members informed.  

At this time, we recommend therapists educate themselves on infection control and have made available a free AHS workshop online.  This course is worth 1 primary credits toward your CE.

What can I do to help my practice if I am not working right now?

Video conferencing.  Many therapists are offering incentives such as reduced gift certificate purchases.  Offering more hours upon reopening.  Some are offering mask and PPE sales.  Some are promoting self-care on their social media and on website with home care and other options.

Should I close my practice?

Practice should already be closed until we have dates of the Stage 2 reopen and the guidelines that will be directed to us through Alberta Health Services.  This has not yet been provided and CRMTA is awaiting further details.

What safety precautions can I take?

To help protect you and your family against all respiratory illnesses, including flu and COVID-19, you should:

  • Wash your hands often and well
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay at home as much as possible, and practice physical distancing when you do leave home: keep at least 6 feet from others when going out for groceries, medical trips and other essential needs
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
  • Contact your primary health provider or Health Link 811 if you have questions or concerns about your health
  • When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands

Wearing Masks

If you choose to wear a non-medical mask or face covering:

  • Ensure your mask is well-fitted and does not gape at the sides.
  • Be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside. Avoid moving or adjusting the mask. Assume the mask has been contaminated and take proper precautions.
  • Critically, if you wear a mask, you must wash your hands before putting it on, as well as before and after taking it off.
  • Cloth masks should be worn only a short time, as there is some evidence that they can trap virus particles after they become damp, which may put the wearer at greater risk.
  • For those choosing to wear non-medical masks, it may be prudent to carry a bag with several clean masks in it, as well as a plastic bag that can be used to safely store used masks until they can be washed at home.
  • It is critical that used masks be carefully handled to avoid spreading infection to others.

See appropriate infection prevention and control precautions for health-care settings

Where can I find Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

The Alberta Government announced that they will be posting distributors for PPE on the Alberta Biz Connect website.

How can I stay informed?

Please continue to visit the Government of Canada website, Alberta Government website and Alberta Health Services website.  Also check your inbox for any updates from CRMTA.

Government of Canada

Alberta Government

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Biz Connect

What can I do to manage my mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed ways on how to manage stress during these uncertain times.

Alberta Health Services offers Text4hope

Which is a free service providing three months of daily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)–based text messages written by mental health therapists.

An Alberta-based innovation, Text4Hope is an evidence-based tool that helps people identify and adjust the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors a pandemic might be expected to provoke.

Through a set of daily messages, people receive advice and encouragement helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency.

What Financial assistance is available to me?

The Government of Canada has introduced many financial supports.  For individuals, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) are among the supports for individuals.  Please visit here for more information on supports the Government of Canada is offering.

COVID19 Member Update Regarding Relaunch for Massage Therapists

We wanted to update our members on the steps CRMTA is recommending for the relaunch plan for Massage Therapists. We continue to closely follow and stay in contact with the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services, at this time, all non-essential businesses have been placed in Stage 2 of the provincial relaunch plan, this includes Massage Therapy.  At this time, we have been informed that the Stage 2 provincial relaunch plan may occur around June 19th.

Consideration:

Therapists will need to consider changes that will be required to begin practicing again. CRMTA has not yet released its “return to practice guidelines” as we are still awaiting confirmed guidance from the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services in relation to specific details at this time. CRMTA does not want to cause any undue expenses to our members by releasing unconfirmed requirements.

The Alberta Government has released a document (CMOH Order 16-2020) detailing guidelines for Workplace and Community Health Care Settings.  These guidelines/rules are for all non-essential healthcare workers returning to practice “All staff providing direct client/patient care or working in client/patient care areas must wear a surgical/procedure mask continuously, at all times and in all areas of the workplace if they are either involved in direct client/patient contact or cannot maintain adequate physical distancing (2 meters) from client/patient and co-workers.”

In light of COVID-19 the CRMTA has had many of our members inquiring about PPE equipment and requirements.  CMOH Order 16-220 document and Alberta Government updates we have been following, the only measures for non-essential healthcare workers at this time is:

  • only treating when COVID-19 is not suspected. 
  • reference to specific mask usage
  • cleaning protocols.
  • Until we receive further specifics CRMTA is not advising any other PPE equipment at this time until directed by the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services.
     
  • CRMTA understands that these are uncertain times, and this can cause stress and concerns around re-opening and what massage therapists will require to prepare for the re-opening. 

Currently CRMTA recommends:

  • Assess your treatment and clinic space and plan how you can best allow for 2-meter physical distancing whenever possible.  This includes your reception and waiting areas.
  • Plan how you will include the COVID-19 screening into your practice. 
  • Will this be done with time allotment into the appointment or by email with clients upon booking.  This intake will be a very necessary step for all bookings. 
    • Implement screening measures and intake protocols.
  • We advise therapists to use this time off to set up online booking options to limit contact at reception areas.
  • This is also a good time to sign up for direct billing if you have not already done so.  Direct billing reduces the contact associated to payment.
  • If you are not going to provide online bookings or payments. This is when you will then need to assess how best to ensure safety of yourself and clients during the change over time between clients in common areas and in your treatment space.
  • Create a cleaning and sanitization routine that will accommodate your practice.
  • Create a list of areas that are at direct risk of contact of COVID-19 that will need routine cleaning and disinfecting.  This is specific to all common areas and areas within the treatment space that will have the highest level of touch.
  • Create a schedule for your practice that will accommodate the following:
  • Cleaning and sanitization between clients.
    • Ensure to allow time to maintain social distancing between your clients in common areas. 
    • Allow time for clients to change, pay and leave before the next appointment is to arrive to provide the least amount of people in direct contact and any given time. 
  • Ensure you have proper hygiene supplies, including hand soap, hand sanitizer, towels, linens, masks, and cleaning products.  Reference the government sites for specifics as needed
  • We recommend caution on all soft surfaces that are at risk of contact for COVID-19. Be aware of items such as those listed below.
  • Pillows. Have a vinyl pillowcase cover.
    • Covers on face cradles, disposable or vinyl for cleaning. 
    • Ensure table does not have soft covers such as warmers unless they are also covered by a vinyl barrier. 

CRMTA understands many of our members have concerns regarding re-opening in Stage 2 of the provincial re-launch.  This brings questions on how to prepare.  CRMTA would like to advise that these are preliminary recommendations on areas that are important at this time. 

CRMTA wants to thank all its members for your patience and understanding during this time.

Please visit Alberta Health Services Biz Connect, the site we recommend you use to assist you in your preparations.

COVID19 CRMTA Member Update April 2

Good afternoon CRMTA Members,

We would like to thank you for your efforts in social distancing to protect your family and our community. We understand the sacrifices everyone has made to flatten the curve. While we are working from home we appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time and we look forward to providing full access to our offices once we are able.  As we are working diligently to answer all the questions and concerns that we are receiving, we would like our members to know that we are here to support them in any way we can, we do not have the authority to advise our members on any of the government programs and supports that are being offered, but we do hope that providing the links below will be helpful to our members.  You will also find this information and any CRMTA updates on our website

As you may be aware, the Provincial and Federal Governments have made many announcements over the past few weeks and in those announcements, they have given information on restrictions and supports that are being implemented.  Below you will find recent information and the links mentioned above. If you have any CRMTA questions or concerns please contact us directly.

On March 27th the Alberta Government announced the closure of some non-essential businesses. Restrictions will be in place for:

  • Close-contact businesses (including hair salons and barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, aesthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.)
  • Dine-in restaurants (will no longer be able to offer dine-in service. Take-out and delivery services will continue to be available.)
  • Non-essential retail services (that fall into the categories of clothing, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centres such as hobby and toys, gift and specialty items and furniture.)

On March 27th the Alberta Government also implemented Landlord Restrictions:

  • No one in Alberta will be evicted for non-payment of rent in the month of April.
  • Eviction protection will continue thereafter for the duration of the public emergency for tenants who work with landlords to establish meaningful and reasonable partial payment plans.
  • Evictions of tenants who had not been able to pay rent for the last few months will also be suspended.
  • In addition, landlords will not be allowed to raise rents while the public state of emergency is in effect and any rent increases that had recently been announced will be frozen until the state of emergency is lifted.
  • The province also said that landlords would not be allowed to charge late fees for between April 1 and June 30.
  • These measures apply not only to traditional tenancies but also to mobile home tenancies.

On March 30, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer has announced new recommendations:

  • If you have traveled outside of Canada or if you are showing any symptoms of COVID19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat or running nose) you are to remain on your property and self-isolate for 14 days, it is no longer recommended to leave your property during the self-isolation period.
  • Domestic travel restrictions, if you are showing any signs of COVID19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat or running nose) you will not be allowed to board any domestic flights.

Government Supports

Candian Child Benefit
GST/HST Benefit
Income Tax Filing Date Extension
Mortgage Support
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Apply for Employment Insurance
EI Sickness Benefits
Canada Student Loan Moratorium
Wage Subsidies for Businesses
Business Credit Availability Program

CRMTA COVID19 Member Update March 27

Massage Therapists must cease services effective immediately, until further government notice. If you have not already done so, please postpone all future appointments and stop practicing until we have additional information. Any therapist not abiding by government legal regulations will face potential consequences to their membership status in addition to any Alberta Government fines and sanctions.

See the complete provincial update here.

COVID19 CRMTA Member Update – March 20

Dear CRMTA Members,

With all the rapid changes and updates regarding the Coronavirus and its effect on our members, we wanted to reach out to you again with an update.

As you may be aware, this week on our Facebook page and website, we issued the following statement:

With the developments of the Coronavirus pandemic, CRMTA feels the personal safety of therapists, clients and the public must be prioritized.
Currently, the CRMTA is (strongly) recommending all our therapists temporarily suspend their massage therapy services until at least April 1, 2020.
Michelle Bullock
CRMTA Registrar

We have been receiving numerous questions, calls and emails regarding the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on massage therapists. Below are some responses for our members.  

FAQs

1. Why is CRMTA strongly recommending closure and not forcing you to close your practice?

As an association, we do not have the legal authority to force you not to work. However, based on the government’s recommendations, we are strongly recommending that you temporarily suspend your massage therapy services.  

2. If therapists continue practicing, are they still covered under malpractice insurance if a client becomes infected with the coronavirus and pursues legal action against said therapist?

Answer from our legal representative:  

“If a therapist knows they have this virus and causes a client to be infected, that is gross misconduct.” 

If you have travelled, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Failure to do so would also be considered gross misconduct.  

But if they are not showing any signs of infection?

“The answer is very fact dependent. There is no black or white answer, only gray. 

Basically, a therapist must act in a reasonable manner. If they act in a way that a reasonable therapist would not act, then they may be negligent and may not be covered.”

3. Should I close my clinic?

As Alberta has declared a state of health emergency, this means non-essential services and public spaces will be closed until further notice. CRMTA strongly recommends that you follow these directives. We understand that the financial and health risk to close your clinic or practice is complicated and difficult, however, this is an individual decision. CRMTA does not have the legal authority to compel members to close their practice.  

The CRMTA Code of Ethics and your right to refuse treatment states that if it poses a risk to the client or the practitioner, you are to abide by applicable laws, regulations, and legislation.  

We recommend you stay informed of government recommendations. Regularly check government health services for updates on the current status of the virus, hygiene practices for health professionals and workplace preparations. Also, regularly check the CRMTA website and Facebook pages for updates.

4. What can I do to protect myself?  

  • Stay home or self-isolate if you have any symptoms, have travelled or been exposed.
  • Hand hygiene and washing with soap and water
  • Social distancing
  • If you suspect exposure – call 811 Health Services to notify.  
  • Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19. 

5. What impact will the COVID-19 have on my membership?

Although the CRMTA offices are closed this will have no impact on your membership. We are working remotely and can help by phone 780-271-7682 or by email: Edmonton or Calgary.

For members with upcoming renewal dates, please send renewal forms by email to us for processing. 

All documents can be emailed or scanned.  

During this unprecedented time, we will accept a picture of your documents from a phone for registration and renewals.   

All payments will be made online through our insurance provider online. Payments can be made by credit card. If you do not have a credit card, you can purchase a prepaid card at local stores to make payment.

If your continuing education 3-year cycle is due with your upcoming renewal, we are postponing CE requirements for the time being.  

Processing time for renewals, email responses and voicemail replies will be longer than usual. 

We appreciate your understanding while we are doing our best to assist our members remotely.  

6. What is CRMTA doing about employers who are not closing their clinics?

At this time, CRMTA has been contacting clinics and employers informing them of our recommendations for closures as needed. If any CRMTA member has any difficulties, please contact us directly. 

7. Are there any financial resources available?

Wage subsidy

To help prevent layoffs, the government is also eyeing a measure that would provide businesses struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19 with a subsidy equal to 10 percent of employee wages, up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. The wage subsidy would cost $3.8 billion, Ottawa estimates.

Tax Deadline

Ottawa is moving the tax-filing deadline from April 30 to June 1 for individuals, mirroring a similar move implemented in the U.S. Canadians will also be able to defer payments on taxes owed.  

Help for Canadian Businesses

The Canadian government will allow businesses to defer payments of income tax amounts until after Aug. 31. No interest or penalties will accumulate.  

The government will also increase the tax credits available to small, medium and large businesses.

On Monday, Trudeau announced the new Business Credit Availability Program, which will provide more than $10 billion in additional support to businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

And, the government said it would “further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support for domestic businesses and provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit so that the government can support Canadian businesses of national interest.”

The government will also augment the credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

Lastly, the government will launch an Insured Mortgage Protection Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC.

The Government said it will do this by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to “guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each,” the release said.

Sickness benefits beyond EI

For Canadians without paid sick leave or access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits, the government is introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit that will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks. The benefit, which the government estimates could cost up to $10 billion, is for the worker who must self-isolate, those who are caring for a family member sick with COVID-19 and parents who are unable to earn income while schools are closed as a result of childcare duties.

Unemployment benefits beyond EI

Ottawa will also be extending income supports to workers who lose their jobs or see their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic.

The Canada Revenue Agency will provide up to $5 billion for unemployed workers without access to EI through a new Emergency Support Benefit.

Tips for Staff & CRMTA Members re: COVID19

Staff and students are encouraged to file their 2020 taxes as soon as possible to take advantage of the increased Child Care Benefit if you have already applied. If you have not applied, follow the steps below:

Who can apply? You must meet all of the following:

  • You live with the child who is under 18 years of age
  • You are primarily responsible for the care of the child (for children living in households with both parents, the female parent is generally considered the primary caregiver)
  • You are a resident of Canada
  • You or your spouse must be either:
    • A Canadian citizen
    • A permanent resident
    • A temporary resident that has lived in Canada for at least 18 months
    • An indigenous person

How to apply?

  1. If you didn’t apply for the Child Care Benefit when you registered the birth of your newborn, you can apply online using My Account (your personal CRA account – will need to sign up for this).
    1. Log in to My Account https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html
    2. Go to “Apply for child benefits”
    3. Confirm your contact information, your marital status and your citizenship
    4. Add your child’s name, gender, date and place of birth
    5. Review and submit your application
    6. If you’re asked to submit additional documents, go to “Submit documents” in My Account
    7. Benefits are expected to be received within 8 weeks
  2. Fill out and sign Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/forms/rc66.html
    1. Include any additional documents needed (see the CRA page for information on this)
    2. Mail the form to your tax center (see the CRA page for the correct tax center)
    3. Benefits are expected to be received within 11 weeks

How much do you get? 

The amount is based upon the net income of you and your spouse and the number of children in the household. If your family net income is less than $31,120, you are eligible to receive the maximum benefit of $6,639 per child (under 6 years old) and $5,602 per child (between 6-17 years old). The Federal Government has increased this benefit by $300 per child in response to COVID-19.

Information link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview.html

GST/HST Credit

Staff and students are encouraged to file their 2020 taxes as soon as possible to take advantage of the increased GST/HST credit.

Who can apply? 

  • Individuals over the age of 19
  • You have (or had) a spouse or common-law partner
  • You are (or were) a parent and live (or lived) with your child (parents in shared custody situations may be eligible for half the credit)

Currently, the maximum benefits (benefits are dependent on family net income) are as follows:

  • $443 if you are single
  • $580 if you are married or living common-law
  • $153 for each child under the age of 19

The Federal Government announced that these benefits would double (i.e. $886 for a single person) to assist low-medium income families as part of the relief package.

New residents to Canada (i.e. international students who have not filed a tax return before) will need to apply for this credit. See the following link for this application: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/forms/rc151.html

Individuals that are applying to get the benefit for their child will automatically receive the credit if they applied for the Child Care Benefit. If they haven’t applied for the Child Care Benefit, apply using the same information in the section above. 

Information link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/goods-services-tax-harmonized-sales-tax-gst-hst-credit.html

COVID-19 Update – March 18, 2020

Dear Members,

CRMTA has been closely following the COV19 pandemic and all the government suggestions. At this time, we want our members to understand the severity of this health emergency and the importance of everyone working to flatten the curve of this pandemic.

With the developments of the Coronavirus pandemic, CRMTA feels the personal safety of therapists, clients and the public must be prioritized.

At this time, the CRMTA is recommending all our therapists temporarily suspend their massage therapy services until at least April 1, 2020.

We understand this is a very difficult decision for all practitioners and clinics. But on recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and the recommendations of Alberta Health Services and now with the Alberta government declaring a state of public emergency, we truly feel this is necessary.

The CRMTA acknowledges that the decision to shut down your practice is incredibly difficult. We understand this can cause financial hardships, and our recommendation does not come lightly. We have been monitoring the situation as it develops and feel at this time it is the only possible recommendation we can make.

Please know as your association we are here to offer our support, and although our offices will be closed at this time, your CRMTA team will be working from home to continue to serve you. Please feel free to contact us during this closure, and we will do our best to assist our members.

CRMTA will continue to watch and speak with our government partners to keep our members updated during this time.

Please continue to monitor this pandemic and take care of yourselves and your families at this time.

Michelle Bullock
CRMTA Registrar

2020 CRMTA AGM and Conference Postponed

NOTICE TO MEMBERS:

CRMTA appreciates and supports all our CRMTA members. In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, you may be aware of many events and gatherings that have been postponed.  As such, we are following Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Minister’s mandate to postpone any gatherings over 250 people. CRMTA takes these precautions very seriously.

We will be postponing the upcoming May 1 – 3 AGM and Conference to a later date. 

We appreciate everyone’s support and we apologize for any inconvenience. 

For those members who are concerned about the effect this postponement will have with their continuing education credits and fulfilling their 3-year cycle requirements, please reach out to us:

Ph: 780-271-7682

Tabitha in Calgary

Louise in Edmonton

Please see the updates on our website for Alberta Health Service’s recommendations to health care practitioners, as well as posters you could display for your clinic and clients. 

Stay current with Alberta Health Services updates by visiting their website.

Stay healthy!  We will keep you updated with any changes. 

Cannabis and Massage Therapy: What you need to know

Cannabis use is now legal in Canada, not only for medicinal purposes but also for recreational use.  Many people turn to Cannabis for pain management or symptom relief from conditions such as M.S., Parkinson’s, epilepsy, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.  Massage therapists work with clients with many of these conditions, assisting in restoring function, movement and helping them return to a pain-free life. 

What Happens Now

Cannabis use is now as legal as drinking, smoking, taking Tylenol, or prescription medications.  Do not be too quick to judge, but at the same time don’t ignore or downplay Cannabis use in your practice.  The legalization of Cannabis does not alter your rights and responsibilities as a massage therapist.  The impact of the consumption of drugs and alcohol by yourself or your clients remain the same.  The main point to remember is that the use of Cannabis will be treated much like the use of alcohol or other drugs in your workplace. 

Cannabis Use by a Massage Therapist

Employers have the responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees and thus have a duty to prevent the risk of their employees being impaired at work.  Employers may control Cannabis use by employees not only at work or during employee breaks but also for fixed periods of time prior to starting work.  The law in Canada allows employers to require its employees to be unimpaired at work.  Employers are legally entitled to test for drug impairment of their employees using reasonable methods.

How Cannabis Use Can Impact Your Practice

So, what does this mean for you in your practice?

  1. You cannot be impaired at work;
  2. You cannot recommend Cannabis use to your clients. When it comes to prescribing medication, you must advise your clients to consult with their doctor or pharmacist.
  3. If a therapist believes their clients are under the influence of any drug (including Cannabis) or alcohol making it unsafe for them to participate in massage therapy, you should reschedule the appointment. 
  4. You should be aware that under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act you are also obligated to inform the police if you believe a client will be driving impaired. (This applies to impairment from either Cannabis or alcohol or any other substance).
  5. Cannabis can have different effects on each individual and can impact on how a person moves or functions.  Some of these effects can impact a person’s cardiovascular function, their perception of pain, and their memory or attention. These are all contraindications to massage therapy treatment.

What to do as a Massage Therapist When Your Client is Using Cannabis

  1. If your client appears impaired, you should follow your clinic’s policies and procedures for dealing with any impaired individual.  This may require you to cancel your treatment or rebook it to a different time.
  2. A client impaired by Cannabis may not be able to provide informed consent to treatment.
  3. If your client uses Cannabis but is not impaired at the time of treatment it is important to take a thorough history and understand why your client is using Cannabis.  The reasons for their use of Cannabis can offer information, assisting you to provide an appropriate treatment and use evidence-based resources to assist you to manage their condition.
  4. You may not advise your client to use Cannabis. You may give your clients guidance towards reputable sources of information and refer them to their doctor or pharmacist.
  5. Your client may have many reactions to Cannabis and this may require you to modify how you deliver treatment.  As there are many different types, strengths and dosages of Cannabis, it is best to be cautious if you know your client recently used Cannabis or if they are a regular user.  Cannabis is often used for its pain relief properties and so it follows that your client may have a blunted response to pain.  As a result, some modalities which require intact sensations such as hot stones or deep tissue massage may be contraindicated.  Also, Cannabis use can have an effect on memory or cognition which may impact how your clients retain educational tips or advice.  Finally, the use of Cannabis affects cardiovascular and respiratory function, increasing heart rate and blood pressure.  Long term use may lead to opposite effects of decreased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as respiratory issues associated with smoking.

The Use of CBD Oils and Lotions

Cannabidiol oil or CBD is a Cannabinoid oil extracted from Cannabis plants.  Oil derived from Cannabis, including CBD oil, is a controlled substance and can only be purchased with a medical marijuana prescription or from a licensed Cannabis retailer.  Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a high or intoxication.  Notwithstanding that, you cannot legally purchase Cannabis-based oils in Alberta except from a licensed retailer or with a medical marijuana prescription.

Some internet retailers are claiming their products containing CBD are allowed in Canada because they don’t get you high.  The unauthorized movement of any form of Cannabis across Canada’s borders or through the internet remains a serious criminal offence.  Health Canada is concerned about claims made by retailers touting health benefits which are not yet proven.  Health Canada is especially concerned about advertisements relating to the use of CBD oil which may be false, misleading or deceptive, and those which advertise Cannabis in relation to therapeutic claims. 

So where does that leave us?

  • Do not use oil or lubricants that contain any amounts of CBD or THC
  • Do not sell any products that contain any amounts of CBD, THC or Cannabis.  The sale of such products is limited to licensed Cannabis retailers.
  • Do not recommend any products that contain CBD or THC, as prescribing or recommending controlled substances is not within the scope of practice of massage therapy.

Some Important Points Everyone Should Know About Cannabis

  • There are limits on the amount a person can possess. Trafficking is still a serious criminal offence.
  • It is not legal for minors (under 18 in Alberta, older in some provinces).  It is illegal to provide it to minors
  • The locations one can use Cannabis are very limited – generally even more limited than where one can smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.  Each municipality will have their own regulations on where Cannabis can be smoked.  Many landlords and condominium associations will also have rules on smoking of Cannabis.
  • Edibles are not yet legal to sell.
  • DON’T take Cannabis across international borders. In Canada, it is a crime punishable with up to 14 years in prison!   If convicted, you could lose your right to travel outside of Canada.   Canada is only the second country in the world to legalize recreational Cannabis.   Recreational Cannabis use is still illegal virtually everywhere else in the world.   While recreational use of Cannabis is legal in ten states in America IT IS NOT LEGAL in most US states and it is illegal to cross the US -Canada border with it EVEN into a state that has legalized it.  Border Services are federal jurisdiction and the US federal government has not legalized Cannabis. Even medically prescribed use does not entitle you to cross an international border with Cannabis.
  • Impaired driving from Cannabis is as dangerous and treated as seriously by police and the courts as impaired driving from alcohol.  Cannabis can’t even be within the reach of anyone in a vehicle.
  • Minors can’t enter Cannabis stores – not even with an adult.
  • Even though Cannabis is legal, Health Canada still advises that its use poses risks to health.  Smoking Cannabis is not recommended just as smoking cigarettes is not recommended. Cannabis contains hundreds of substances and the impact on a person’s health is not yet fully understood. 

If you have further questions about how Cannabis affects you or your Massage Therapy business, please contact your CRMTA member representative.