Comment: Green Shield Canada and the Massage Therapy Profession

Calling out misinformation
Jannen Belbeck
December 11, 2018
By
How fitting that dictionary.com’s “Word of the Year” is “misinformation.”

 I was shocked – and then I was angry. If you’re a massage therapist and/or advocate of the massage therapy profession, then I’m sure you felt the same emotions that I did while reading Green Shield Canada’s recent article: “The elephant in the (waiting) room.”

The article is an accompaniment to a press release dated October 5th, titled: “We spend more on massage than mental health services...time for a change?” The release outlines a new health benefits plan design, which eliminates massage as a core benefit, in place of “digital mental health support options for easier access and consistency of care,” (among others). What an oversight. In fact, one of the objectives of the RMTAO Queen’s Park Day was to visit with MPPs and discuss the role MT plays in addressing the physical symptoms of mental health issues, as well as in long-term and seniors’ care, etc.

The seriously flawed, follow-up article presented by the not-for-profit benefits carrier utilized manipulation tactics to guilt the reader to give up their massage therapy benefits so that an employee’s sick daughter (with an undetermined disease) can get the drugs she needs. The article “assumes you said yes,” and then continues by diminishing the benefits of massage therapy treatment – saying that, sure, it’s relaxing and it’s (sometimes) just as good as a nap.

Seriously? There’s a very good reason (or actually, a multitude of reasons) that massage therapy is one of the largest benefit expenses for an employer. Dismissing massage therapy and implying it's “not important” is infuriating.

Only a few days after this article was posted, MTs from across the country tweeted, replied, posted, commented, reacted and shared the article (and all of its) wrong-doings with your clients, the industry, and with the original poster itself.

Kudos to the RMTAO and the Canadian Massage Therapy Alliance for making quick work of this situation – they will have already met with Green Shield Canada’s representatives by the time you read this.

We reached out to Green Shield for comment. They stated that the company is “speaking with the RMTAO ... and look forward to ongoing dialogue with them.”

I urge all massage therapists across the country to call out misinformation when you see it. One voice turns into many.

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