There are plans to harmonize Ontario’s retail sales tax with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). This means that the new 13% harmonized tax will apply to massage therapy as well.
Here is an excerpt from the Ontario Massage Therapist Association (OMTA).
Harm to Patients
Massage therapy is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), instead, these services are paid directly by patients, either out-of-pocket or through their extended health benefit programs. The introduction of HST will mean that:
- By adding the 8% tax, given that massage therapy is already taxed under the federal Goods and Services Tax, Ontarians will be paying more for health care services, either from their own income or through their extended health benefit plan;
- With less funding available, patients will be forced to reduce the frequency with which they seek treatment, both for injuries and on-going preventive health care, or eliminate these services entirely;
- This reduction in services will cause a direct impact on the health and well-being of many Ontarians and, in the long term, will affect Government spending in other areas of health care.
Harm to RMTs
The reduction in the funds patients have available, either individually or through an extended health benefit plan, will result in a reduction in services sought by Ontarians. The profession is already facing significant economic distress. The introduction of the HST will mean that:
- RMTs will face increased economic difficulties operating their practices as the available funding for massage therapy is reduced and therefore patients seek fewer or no services;
- The economic downturn, coupled with the recently announced increase in annual registration fees from the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, an increase that is necessary in order to sustain the self-regulatory model, will only serve to make matters worse for many RMTs;
The inability of the profession to sustain itself will result in fewer massage therapists and an inability of the profession to maintain the regulatory structures.