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Ontario CMTO clarifies new language proficiency assessment rule

language.jpgApril 29, 2014 — The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is making some clarifications on its implementation of the new language proficiency assessment policy, which comes into effect on July 1.

April 29, 2014  By Mari-Len De

The clarification is being issued amid concerns raised to the college about the implementation of the new rule. In a statement posted on its website, the CMTO notes the new policy is
not an additional registration requirement. Since 1993, the regulatory
college has always required an applicant for massage therapy
professional registration to be able to speak and write either English
or French with reasonable fluency.

What has changed is the way by which the college is determining language proficiency.

College used to depend on graduation from an Ontario massage therapy
program as demonstrating reasonable fluency. However, in recent years
concerns have been raised during the examination process that a number
of candidates do not meet the fluency requirement,” the CMTO said.

is for this reason that Council has established the policy that all
applicants whose first language is not English or French or have not
completed their secondary school education in English or French must
demonstrate reasonable fluency through an approved language assessment.”


uses the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Fluency Assessment, which
was developed in partnership between federal and provincial governments,
and the Michener English Language Assessment – also based on the CLB
standard and is focused on language skills particular to the Canadian
health-care workplace – as its framework for assessing reasonable
fluency in either English or French.

“Communication with clients
forms the basis for effective massage therapy care,” said the CMTO. “It
is also important that a registrant can communicate with the College as
it is  an important part of a health professional’s accountability and
ensures that she/he can understand and comprehend College materials
related to registration, complaints, discipline and quality assurance

The college also noted it is “not unsympathetic”
the difficulties certain applicants may face in completing a language
proficiency assessment.

“Applicants who are encountering undue
hardship or feel that other aspects of their education may demonstrate
reasonable fluency are welcome to make a submission requesting an
extension or exemption to this policy. Each case will be reviewed on an
individual basis,” the CMTO said.

Written submissions should be forwarded to Evelyn Waters, deputy registrar, at

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