COVID-19 Update: Massage Therapists Cannot Practice – Massage Therapy is Not Emergency Care

Premier’s Announcement – Closure of all Non-Essential Businesses

The Government of Ontario has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses and services, as of 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday March 24, 2020. You can read the news release here. A list of essential businesses is available here. Please note, number 58 lists “health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists”, as essential businesses.

While we are aware that the vast majority of Massage Therapists (RMTs/MTs) have followed CMTO’s earlier guidance and suspended their practice, we are continuing to receive inquiries from some RMTs asking if they can practice.

CMTO’s position is that RMTs should not practice at this time. CMTO does not view the practice of Massage Therapy as emergency care.

Failure to comply with an order of the Premier is a provincial offence pursuant to section 7.0.11 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000.  

The College expects RMTs to comply with all government and public health recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. RMTs work in very close contact with clients. As regulated health professionals, RMTs have an obligation to maintain practice premises in a safe and sanitary manner and to not put clients at risk. Using personal protective equipment (PPE) is imperative during a pandemic (gloves, masks), yet personal protective equipment is scarce during this pandemic and should be prioritized for front-line health professionals in hospitals and testing facilities. Failure of RMTs to meet obligations may constitute professional misconduct and would be contrary to the Premier’s and Chief Medical Officer of Health’s directives.

Practitioners also risk potential civil liability for any damages caused when contravening such a directive or any of the professional standards, such as where a client is unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19.

Circumstances will continue to change and CMTO’s position may evolve, especially as new guidance is provided by the Government of Ontario.

CMTO has created a dedicated webpage for all COVID-19 related information and resources. The new page is accessible from CMTO’s homepage.

We hope this information is helpful, and we will continue to provide updates.

For questions about this information, please contact CMTO’s Practice Specialist at or by phone at (416) 489-2626/1-800-465-1933 extension 4124.

Thank you again to Ontario’s RMTs for your commitment to keep Ontarians safe and healthy in these difficult times.