The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) held its first ever Queen’s Park Lobby Day on November 26, 2018. This event was an opportunity to meet with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) from all political parties to discuss the benefits of massage therapy and the role that massage therapists can play in health care.
The day began with a presentation from Robin Martin, one of the Parliamentary Assistants to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Ms. Martin spoke about increased funding and support to treat mental health and addictions and saw a role for massage therapy in the treatment of chronic pain and mental health associated with the provincial opioid crisis. France Gélinas, the NDP Health Critic also spoke to the RMTAO about massage therapy in the treatment of low-back pain, hospice and home care, and addressing the opioid crisis. Ms. Gélinas, a physiotherapist by training, has an appreciation for the benefits of massage therapy for musculoskeletal issues in all of these areas.
RMTAO representatives had various meetings with MPPs from all parties. Our representatives highlighted the benefits of massage therapy to treat chronic pain, address the physical symptoms of mental health issues, and the role of massage therapy in hospice, home care, seniors’ care and long-term care. The MPPs that we met with were extremely enthusiastic and supportive. They offered to attend massage therapy events in their ridings, champion the inclusion of massage therapy in relevant government health initiatives, and act as a liaison between the RMTAO and key policy makers and researchers.
We received many requests for additional meetings with MPPs, Ministers and key committee members. In particular, RMTAO will be approaching new partnerships with seniors’ care policy groups, consulting with a member of the committee that will be examining the evolution of the Auto Insurance Benefit and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedules (SABS), and connecting with the chair of the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine.
Thank you to our volunteer RMTAO members who gave their time and expertise to help the RMTAO build and maintain relationships with government representatives. The RMTAO is the only advocate for Ontario RMTs, and we will continue to create opportunities like this Queen’s Park Lobby Day to advocate for the massage therapy profession.