This month I am talking about preventing sexual assault in clinical settings and these blogs are aimed at you, the consumer of health care services. Certainly this is a difficult topic to tackle and I want to do it justice while moving with sensitivity. It should never be the job of the assaulted to prevent their own assaults. But sometimes it is possible to see warning signs that the situation we are in may not be what we thought it was. While we can not always be able to prevent horrible things happening to us, in the context of a clinical setting we can learn to see a problem before it happens. In this blog series we will discuss how to know FOR SURE if your RMT is actually what they say they are, how to find out if they are in good standing, and what behaviours you should expect from us that indicate we hold safety and security as high values in our practices. The intent is to empower you to make fully informed and aware decisions.
If over the course of this series you need some support, you are welcome to reach out to me with questions or concerns. If you feel like you are close to (or in) crisis, you can call the SACHA 24-hr help line at 905-525-4162, and in the Greater Halton Area you can call SAVIS 24-hr help line at 905-875-1555. If you are reading from outside the Greater Hamilton Region, check out Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres to find support near you. For those seeking services for men, you can find support via Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Program and Canadian Centre for Male Survivors. You are not alone and I believe survivors.
Can you spot a fake? Registration in Ontario
Ontario is a province that has government oversight of massage therapists. This is what the R means in RMT. Also true, the terms Massage Therapist, MT, Registered Massage Therapist, RMT, massage therapy, therapeutic massage, Massothérapeute, Massothérapeute Inscrit(e), are protected. This means that only people who are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario can use these words to indicate and describe their designations. Section 7(1) of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991, forbids the use of these terms by non-registrants with the college.
The CMTO is the government appointed body responsible for ensuring public safety when you are in our treatment rooms. Their vision is to be “at the forefront of evolving professional regulation, inspiring trust and confidence.” Their mission is to be “...dedicated to excellence in protecting the public’s interest, guiding its registrants and promoting the highest possible quality of the practice of Massage Therapy.” Their guiding principles and values can be found at Mission, Vision and Principles. They are mandated by the government of Ontario to protect the public through professional conduct, quality assurance, registration, client relations, and discipline. We will talk more about the CMTO as we go along, but for the moment, these are the most important parts.
But people can lie. So, how do you know the difference? The best way to know for certain whether the person you are considering visiting is truly a registered therapist is to check with the CMTO.
On the CMTO home page , in the blue menu bar, there is a tab called Public Register: Find an RMT. It looks like this.
As you click through the site you come to a page that allows you to search the registry of all 14 000+ RMTs in Ontario. You can search by name or location and can find all RMTs that fit the criteria; you can also search through the full registry. This is the only way to ensure that the person who has presented their credentials to you is actually who they say they are. Additionally, all RMTs have a document issued by the CMTO that displays their name and their credentials which must be present in their primary clinic. Did you know? We also have ID cards. Most RMTs likely don't carry them around like their driver's licenses, but those who do mobile work or RMT's who work in multiple locations are required to carry their ID cards. If you don't see a document displayed on the wall of the treatment room or somewhere in the clinic, you can ask to see their ID card to confirm that they are who they say they are. This card contains a photo, the therapists name, the date of expiry and logo and contact information of the CMTO. You can see that logo in the top left corner of the website screen capture above.
Look before you Book as the CMTO says. With the above information, it is possible to weed out those who would present themselves as RMTs who are not. There is no reason to lie about being an RMT without having some sort of ulterior motive and whatever it is, you can be sure you don't want to be part of it. Generally speaking, if a person was willing to spend a whole lot of money on their education, continue their learning and maintain good standing with the college, they are willing to meet a high bar of professional conduct. By being a registered therapist, myself and my peers have chosen to meet the standards of practice set before us and to uphold the various legal acts that bind us and our behaviour including the Ontario Health Care Consent Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Massage Therapy Act. That's alotta rules! And it is the CMTO's job to ensure we follow them, for your safety and wellbeing.
Next article we talk more about the specific behaviours of RMTs, what our responsibilities are in our treatment rooms and how we are expected to go about upholding those responsibilities to keep our clinical spaces safe for you, and ourselves. So until next week... Look Before You Book.
****Note**** The links at the start of this article will be included at the end of each article. There is no need to go through surviving alone. Help is there and it CAN get better. Promise. <3