CMTA wants to continue talks to get Ontario back

Mari-Len De Guzman
September 13, 2013
The Canadian Massage Therapy Alliance (CMTA) has urged Ontario’s massage therapist association to rejoin the CMTA, saying the alliance is open to addressing Ontario’s concerns regarding its participation.
In an open letter addressed to the massage therapy profession in Canada, CMTA chair Marilyn Sparling wrote the following: “If structural changes are needed, then Ontario is welcome to participate in change. If there are any other concerns that prevent RMTAO (Registered Massage Therapist Association of Ontario) from participating in the alliance we will be happy to address them.”

The letter also responded to several posts on the RMTAO Facebook page discussing the RMTAO’s 2011 withdrawal as a member of the CMTA. The subject posts were from July 2013.

In her letter, Sparling quoted RMTAO chief executive officer Bryn Sumpton’s comment on one of its member’s post asking the status of RMTAO’s position on the CMTA and its national advocacy.

“To these statements, let it be said the CMTA proactively engaged in exchanges with the RMTAO more than a year ago regarding any concerns they may have had with the ‘structure’ of the alliance. These correspondences were left last June (2012) with the assurance there would be a letter forthcoming by the fall 2012 from the board of the RMTAO to the CMTA explaining their issues. This letter or any further communication regarding this matter has never been sent,” Sparling said in her letter.

The RMTAO is preparing to issue a position statement that, Sumpton said, will summarize the structure and vision that RMTAO would like to see in a national massage therapy alliance.

Sumpton told Massage Therapy Canada discussions between the RMTAO and the CMTA are continuing, but declined to disclose the details of those discussions.

“Our discussions with the CMTA are private, internal discussions that we generally don’t share with other provincial associations, for example, or publicly,” Sumpton said.

He did enumerate some of RMTAO’s position regarding a national massage therapy alliance.

“It needs to be clear that it’s an alliance of provincial and territorial organizations or associations, rather than a national association for individual massage therapists,” Sumpton said.

He added, “They have to have a clear vision and purpose that is articulated and that it is shared with the vision of our association. For example, if there is a dissention, each association has the right to agree or disagree with statements by the group as a whole, especially when it’s in conflict with an individual association’s bylaws and policies in their own province.”

The RMTAO also wants to ensure that membership in the alliance “isn’t unsustainable or heavily burdensome in terms of human resources or cost,” Sumpton said.

The RMTAO has developed a draft position statement for the alliance, which it opened up for member comments earlier this year. The association is currently finalizing that document, which is expected to be released in the fall, according to Sumpton.

In her letter, Sparling said the CMTA is “keen to have (RMTAO’s) participation and welcome your vision in this national alliance.”

“We firmly believe that only by working together as a national profession can our goals and visions be achieved for the profession and, more importantly, the health care needs of Canadians be addressed from coast to coast,” Sparling said.

The RMTAO withdrew its membership from the CMTA in 2011. Then RMTAO board chair Amanda Baskwill explained the reason for the association’s withdrawal in her 2011 Annual Report.

“Following the (2011) spring meeting, the RMTAO board of directors decided not to renew their membership with the CMTA due to the amount of financial and human resources that would have been required to participate in this organization,” Baskwill wrote.

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