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. 

Notice for CRMTA Members RE: Coronavirus/COVID-19

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

In light of the confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease in Alberta and the World Health Organization declaring the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic, we wish to offer our members information regarding infection prevention and protection to you and your clinic. Please see below some attached resources you can use in your clinics.

To Minimize Chance for Exposure:

  1. Screening – when scheduling appointments, ask patients if they have developed symptoms of a respiratory infection, i.e. cough, sore throat, fever, rash and to reschedule appointments if necessary.
  • At appointment – consider limiting points of entry, post posters with instructions on symptoms, hand hygiene, travel alert poster.
  • For your own protection – sanitize your hands, sanitize area, disinfect laundry, wear gloves and if necessary, you could wear a mask. 

Hand Hygiene:

HCP should perform hand hygiene before and after all patient contact, contact with infectious material and before putting on and after removing protective gear, including gloves.  Hand hygiene after removing protective gear is particularly important to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.  


Provide supplies for respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, as well as alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) with 60 – 95% alcohol (no-touch receptacles).

As an added precaution consider removing any excess fabric and covers from tables that could interfere with adequate cleaning (such as table warmers, padded face covers, etc.). Also, be aware of the risk of using blankets between multiple clients without washing,

  • If you suspect exposure – notify CRMTA and call 811 Health Services to notify.  Direct patient to call ahead to medical facility so they are prepared when the patient arrives. 

Alberta Health Services has provided a recommendation page, as well as posters for you and your clinic (see attached).

Refer to World Health Organization for information on affected areas.  See image of affected areas as of March 10, 2020

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.

CRMTA SOAP Notes Expectation Available Now!

CRMTA SOAP NOTE EXPECTATIONS

The CRMTA SOAP Note Expectations are available now!

SOAP notes are a massage therapist’s clinical health records. SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment Plan. In keeping with the CRMTA Health Care Records Policy, the CRMTA SOAP Notes policy contains specific comments relating to the keeping of SOAP notes. The CRMTA Health Record Policy governs if there is any confusion or discrepancy between the CRMTA SOAP policy and the CRMTA Health Care Records Policy.

For more information view the complete CRMTA SOAP Notes Expectation or contact your CRMTA Representative today.

A Note for CRMTA Conference Attendees

Good afternoon,

We are looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Annual CRMTA Conference.  For those of you participating in one of the practical workshops (Dr. Mally or RockTape) please remember to wear comfortable workout attire, shorts, and sports bra for women.  For Dr. Mally please also bring a massage table, lotion/oil and sheets.  If you do not have a massage table, we will have some for rent at the conference.  Rental charge will be $10.00/day for a table, $5/day for sheets, cash only. Supplies are limited.

Saturday & Sunday cold breakfast will be available at 7:30am
Business of Massage Workshop – Saturday 8;30am – 4:00pm
Dr. Mally, Soft Tissue Workshop – Saturday 8:30am  – 5:00pm
Dr  Mally, Lower Back Workshop – Sunday 8:30am – 5:00pm
RockTape Workshop – Sunday 8:00am  – 5:00pm
CRMTA Annual General Meeting(CRMTA Members only) – Saturday 12:00pm – 1:00pm, Lunch included.
3 CE Credits will be given to each member that attends

On Saturday, February 9, 2019 there will be a meet and greet held at the Duke of Argyll Pub from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.  Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.  All alcoholic beverages will be the responsibility of each individual.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.