Follow-up concerning the new requirements announced by Great-West


Montreal, May 13, 2019


Dear members,

As you know, discussions are underway between the FQM and Great-West concerning their new training requirements for massage therapists in Québec. These requirements stipulate that massage therapists must complete 1,000 hours of training by January 1, 2020 in order to be recognized as service providers.

Considering the FQM’s mission to support you in your professional practice, but also inform and protect the public;

Considering the current appeals to the government in favour of public protection and, as mentioned by Great-West, your recognition as health professionals;

Considering the new requirements announced by Great-West, which go to the heart of our mission;

Here are a few points of concern to us on this issue, points which we were careful to raise and share with Great-West:

  • In the absence of oversight by the Ministère de l’Éducation, how can massage therapists in Québec identify the schools that offer quality training?
  • How can massage therapists complete 1,000 hours of training between now and January 1, 2020, knowing that training is not offered in all regions of Québec?
  • What is the content of the training program leading to the 1,000 training hours required by Great-West?
  • How we ensure that the training program offers students the knowledge, abilities and competencies they need to offer effective, safe and ethical massage therapy services, like those offered in the five provinces where massage therapy is regulated?
  • How can massage therapists, who have an average annual income of $17,882 according to the Comité sectoriel de la main-d’œuvre des soins personnels (CSMO) (Sectoral personal care workforce committee), pursue their training towards the 1,000 hours required by Great-West?
  • How can employers of massage therapists do without a workforce for close to a year, which is the time massage therapists will require to earn their 1,000 training hours and thus meet the new requirements of Great-West?
  • How will Great-West ensure that the numerous massage therapy associations in Québec will be able to apply a neutral, credible and uniform evaluation process to training programs offered in massage therapy schools?

In response to our questions, Great-West sought to reassure us that it is attentive to our concerns. For information purposes, they responded as follows:


 J’aimerais remercier de leur intérêt toutes les associations qui ont répondu à notre communication sur les exigences rehaussées en matière d’admissibilité. Le taux de participation était très élevé et majoritairement en faveur des changements que nous proposons, ce qui nous confirme que nous sommes dans la bonne direction.

 Certains ont tout de même exprimé leurs préoccupations au sujet de la date cible du 1er janvier 2020. Nous sommes conscients que cette date peut causer de l’appréhension parmi les massothérapeutes en service. Nous voulons vous assurer que la Great-West est à l’écoute de vos préoccupations. La présente communication vise à vous informer que nous travaillons activement avec les associations qui nous ont répondu pour discuter de la meilleure façon d’aborder les prochaines étapes. Notamment, nous pouvons ajuster la date d’entrée en vigueur des changements et étudier plus en profondeur la notion d’admissibilité pour l’exigence sur les 1 000 heures de formation en massothérapie.

 N’hésitez pas à transmettre ce message à vos membres.


Good afternoon,

 I would like to express my appreciation to all the associations that responded to our enhanced credentialing requirements.  We received an overwhelming response voicing agreement on the changes we are proposing; confirming that this is a step in the right direction.

We received expressions of concern regarding our target date of January 01, 2020.  We are aware that this date may have caused some apprehension amongst massage therapists actively working in the profession. We want you to rest assured that Great-West Life is listening to these concerns. 

This communication is to let you know that we will be actively working with the associations who have responded to us on how to best move forward. This includes flexibility with the effective date of the changes as well as further consideration of what constitutes eligibility for the 1,000-hour massage therapy education requirement. 

Please feel free to communicate this message to your members.

Note that we are continuing our negotiations with Great-West on this issue with the goal of reaching an agreement that sees all sides win. In this regard, the FQM is currently updating the competency recognition process it developed through professional experience.


Jean-François Bouchard
Executive Director
514-597-0505/1-800-363-9609, extension 233


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