Many members are in support of obtaining tax exemption for massage therapy services which, if obtained, would mean that massage therapists across Canada would no longer need to charge and remit GST/HST. When massage therapy was regulated in a fifth province – Prince Edwards Island – in 2019, we were able to begin the process, but based on the experiences of other professions who have obtained tax exemption, it was always likely to be a multi-year process.
Here is a review of that process and how we’re working towards each of these elements:
Demonstrate that Massage Therapists Support This Request
The Ministry of Finance would like to know that the majority of massage therapists in Canada are supportive of this request in order to consider granting it. One way we can demonstrate this is by the number of massage therapists belonging to Associations that are part of the Canadian Massage Therapist Association (CMTA).
Another way we prove we have support is through the number of massage therapists across Canada who have signed up for updates on the CMTA project page RMTACT, or shared their stories, as well as how many massage therapists participate in surveys. Surveys have provided, and will continue to provide, the information CMTA requires in order to present a case for exemption to the Government of Canada. When you receive a survey link, please take the time to share your answers.
Provide Summary Information of the Financial Impact for Government
GST/HST that is collected and remitted by massage therapists represents a source of income for the federal government. The CMTA needs to prove what the financial impact will be from removing that source of income.
A survey was sent to all members of Associations that belong to the CMTA in 2019 asking for various forms of financial information; there may be further requests for updates in the future. Please consider providing this information to CMTA; your answers will be anonymous.
This information included how many massage therapists collect/remit tax and how much they collect, their income, and the amount of input tax credits they claim, if any.
Demonstrate that Massage Therapy Supports Overall Health Care
We need to prove to the Ministry of Finance and other federal government members that taxing massage therapy is a barrier that prevents patients from accessing the health care they need.
This starts by proving why massage therapy is so beneficial and important to the health of Canadians. We will be doing this by sharing the facts about massage therapy that are posted on the Tax Exemption project site of the CMTA, as well as sharing the massage therapy stories submitted by both massage therapists and members of the public across Canada.
With these real life examples of how massage therapy has helped people with their healthcare, we will be able to highlight to the government why it is important that we make it easier for people across Canada to access massage therapy. We will make access to massage therapy easier and more affordable for Canadians by removing the barrier of having to pay tax.
Connecting with the Ministry of Finance
Ultimately, tax exemption will be a decision that rests with the Minister of Finance, and individuals that advise them in the Ministry of Finance. When more Members of Parliament are in support of this initiative, this is just one way we can prove the value of this request and the importance of public access to massage therapy.
Ultimately, tax exemption for massage therapists will need to be included in a federal budget, which is why the Ministry of Finance will be essential in granting this request. Over the past two years, the CMTA has submitted pre-budget submissions to the federal Ministry of Finance, which will solidify the groundwork for this request.
Our next step is to secure meetings with the Minister of Finance, various key staff and representatives in the Ministry of Finance, and other MPs that are likely to support our cause. This has been delayed somewhat as all levels of government have been primarily focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years. The 2021 Federal Election has also delayed things, as it was impossible to anticipate what the change in government might be.
Now that the Federal election is complete, and the Federal government has more space for issues outside of the pandemic, we are anticipating a meeting in the Summer of 2022 with the Ministry of Finance to determine next steps.