The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has taken the step of writing to the chief legislative council in Nova Scotia about Bill No. 323, the Regulated Health Professions Act. The association specifically is asking the province to create the act, and to include massage therapists in its list of regulated healthcare professions, to provide clarity for insurers who fund the service and give Nova Scotia residents access to federal medical expense tax credits.

“On behalf of the Canadian life and health insurance industry, I am writing to encourage the province of Nova Scotia to create the Regulated Health Professions Act. By replacing 21 acts currently in place for self-regulated healthcare professions, there would be a common regulatory framework like those in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia,” writes the CLHIA’s director of health and disability benefits, Sheila Burns.

The association notes that the industry provides benefits to approximately 760,000 in the province. “I encourage the province of Nova Scotia to consider making massage therapy a regulated profession,” she continues. “This would follow the lead of those provinces who have already regulated the professions (Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick), and other provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) that have recommended regulation or are considering regulation.” 

Burns says the move would provide greater clarity for insurers. “Regulation of healthcare providers helps to ensure that the services they provide are delivered in accordance with minimum standards of practice,” she writes. “This enhances the protection of the public generally.” 

More, she points out that Section 22 of the Income Tax Act provides a limited tax credit for medical expenses. Eligible expenses are those provided by medical practitioners, including massage therapists, who are regulated in the jurisdiction where they provide service. “We believe that it would be beneficial for residents of Nova Scotia to also have access to this tax credit as it would help mitigate some of the burden of seeking massage treatments.”