Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools 2010 AGM Report

Garth Beddome
August 20, 2010
By Garth Beddome
The Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools (CCMTS) met in Banff, Alberta, in May for its 2010 annual general meeting (AGM) with a purpose to reflect on, and confirm, its commitment to quality massage education in Canada.

The CCMTS AGM mandate has always been to share, with the membership, the work the board has accomplished over the previous year and to strategically plan a course of action for the year to come.  This year, board members were excited by what we see as a paradigm shift in the profession, with the development of a national standard of professional competencies and growing respect, throughout Canada, for massage therapy as a profession. 

Our theme was “Preparing for the Future,” and we left with a renewed sense of commitment to the profession and to our member schools all across the country. The setting—in the majestic mountains of beautiful Banff—was exceptional, as was the opportunity to connect professionally and personally with both old friends, and new, as we discussed the issues that face our individual schools and the profession on a national level. Speaking personally, this is a member benefit that I have always appreciated about the CCMTS.
 
Reflecting back and looking ahead
We reflected on the past year, a busy one for all of us. We have strengthened our national voice through a growing membership base which has now expanded to a record 38 member schools across the country. With this growth, we have also initiated and enhanced member and stakeholder benefits that will serve our members well in the future.

Our own organization was the focus of part of our session, as we reviewed and renewed our mission, now expressed as: “To provide a collegial forum and national voice for member schools in order to advance the art, science, education and practice of massage therapy.” To read more about our values and objectives, visit our new web- site at www.ccmts.ca.
 
Competency and education for Canadian RMTs
The development of a massage therapy competency document by The Consortium of Massage Therapy Regulators is progressing, and we appreciated a recent opportunity to add our voice when Randy Ellingson, representing CCMTS, attended a meeting with fellow stakeholders in early May. As he reported to us at the AGM, they discussed the competency document, its progress to date, its likely next step of development, and its potential for national influence.

The CCMTS is a strong supporter of the exceptional work being done by the Consortium, and we look forward to participating in a meaningful way during the next phase of development. We believe that a consistent, defensible, competency-based document will help solidify our curricula, unify the massage profession in the country, and ultimately provide more opportunities for graduates of our programs.

We know that continually improving the quality and delivery of our educational programs is the key to success in the massage education industry. To communicate the high standards of education offered by our member schools to the public, governments, and other professionals, we need an effective way to measure and demonstrate quality programs. The CCMTS continues to pursue an effective Canadian-based model for program accreditation.

We feel a proactive approach in this area will help prepare our members for this transition and enable our members to remain true to our educational standards of excellence. This past year we initiated talks with The Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission (CETAC), and they have been very receptive to working with us to develop a model that will meet both industry and governmental standards. To offer more information for our members on this potential process, Deborah Burns, the Executive Director of CETAC provided an educational and informative presentation at our AGM.

We have also continued the excellent work of our Education Committee. This past year, our Education Committee has focused their energy on two major initiatives. The first has been the development of a book review service that will help instructors choose appropriate reference material for their courses. The CCMTS book review service will assemble a team of experienced educators who have content expertise and who have knowledge of established competency requirements for entry to practice in regulated provinces.

The Education Committee also reported on the newly established CCMTS Award for Excellence in Research and Interpretive Studies. We have established this annual award as part of our dedication to excellence in massage therapy education and to further the development of high-calibre research study by students. More specific details on both these initiatives can be accessed on our website.

Products and services for RMTs
Randy Ellingson also provided an overview of unique products available at special CCMTS pricing. Over the years, the organization has tried to use the power of our membership numbers to influence better price points on products we all share. This year’s discount pricing included products such as tables, linens, towel warmers and heated table pads.
 
Preparing for a paradigm shift
As continuing president, I would like to acknowledge the countless voluntary hours put in by my fellow board members and their role in accomplishing our objectives. Despite the demands they face in both their personal and professional lives, they have all contributed in a meaningful way through their imagination, opinions, and generosity of time.

As the profession prepares for a paradigm shift, we must try to move forward in a way that respects the starting point and history of each school and province. Developing, supporting, and meeting a national standard will require considerable adjustments from many of our member schools, and the notion that “a rising tide lifts all boats” presupposes that everyone has a boat that floats. My dream for the future of the CCMTS is that we will continue to help members build better boats, ones that can carry all of us forward, together.

If your school is not yet a member of the Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools, please visit our website at www.ccmts.ca to learn more about our organization, priorities, mission statement, and benefits to member schools.

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