Distinction between the Association and the College

Differentiating between the Association (ANBMT) and the College (CMTNB) can be challenging and the differences are often misunderstood. In our opinion, it’s important that all RMTs make it a priority to understand the differences in role and function. This should be viewed as a professional responsibility.

Self-regulated (or self-governing) professions typically have two distinct bodies concerned with their activities: a governance body and an advocacy body. Both bodies have an important role to play in the advancement of the massage therapy profession.

What does self-regulated mean?

The New Brunswick Government (Minister of Health) granted the College (regulatory body) with the legal authority to regulate the profession (December 13, 2013). This was done in exchange for agreeing to regulate and protect the public from unprofessional or unethical conduct. The government’s involvement is typically kept at arms-length, which ultimately allows for greater autonomy when making decisions that affect the profession. Although the profession is permitted to self-regulate, it is nonetheless accountable to the Minister as defined in the Massage Therapy Act. In short, the Minister maintains some authority and can revoke the College’s self-regulating status if the profession is found to be unable to properly self-govern.

As a profession, attaining self-regulated status is an exceptional privilege­. It provides registered massage therapists a unique and incomparable opportunity to gain control over their future and that of the entire profession. By accomplishing self-regulated status, the public perception of the profession is positively impacted, and it sends a clear message about the level of expertise and professionalism of the massage therapy profession as a whole. It also provides the priceless opportunity for the profession to set its own entry-to-practice requirements rather than government imposing their requirements and standards on the profession.

Self-regulation is achieved and maintained by a fully operational Board of Directors. Directors are appointed by peers (fellow practicing RMTs) and registrants of the regulatory College. Directors are not appointed or elected by government, with the exception of lay members (members of the public).

Below is a table outlining some of the key differences between the two organizations. While there are similarities between the two, they differ in terms of purpose, structure, and governance. 


 The Advocacy Body


The Regulatory Body

The Association

The “advocacy” body or intermediary (a go-between) is a membership-driven organization of professional practitioners.

Concerned with promoting the economic and professional interests of the profession’s members.

The College

The “governing” or regulatory body is permitted by law to oversee or regulate the profession. Protects publics’ interest.

Creates Standards of Practice and determines the Scope of Practice as defined by the Massage Therapy Regulation (The Act).


The objects of the Association are to:

  • To promote the science, art and philosophy of massage therapy;

  • To represent its membership before governmental and regulatory bodies concerned with massage therapy;

  • To foster and encourage professional growth and high standards of practice among its Members;

  • To encourage high standards of education for students of massage therapy;

  • Operating and administering programs on behalf of the Members when requested to do so;

  • Promoting causes and performing such other duties and functions as may be required by the Members and as may be conducive to the best interests of the Members;


The objects of the College are to:

  • regulate the practice of massage therapy and govern its members in accordance with this Act and the by- laws, in order to serve and protect the public interest;

  • establish, maintain, develop and enforce standards of qualification for the practice of massage therapy, including the required knowledge, skill, efficiency, proficiency and accountability;

  • establish and enforce a code of professional ethics;

  • administer the affairs of the College;

  • promote public awareness of the role of the College and the scope of practice of massage therapy, and

  • communicate and co-operate with other professional organizations for the advancement of the best interests of the College, including the publication of books, papers and journals; and encourage studies and research in massage therapy

Membership is voluntary; yet, strongly encouraged

Membership is mandatory–for the following reasons.

Unregulated Individuals:

  • MT services will not be covered by a client’s insurance plan;

  • Individual is without professional liability insurance;

  • Only members of the College of Massage Therapists of New Brunswick are permitted to use the title registered massage therapist (RMT), massage therapist, certified massage therapist, etc.

  • Unregulated individuals are not required to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and the College has no jurisdiction over the individual.

Ensures members meet its own standard’s which are at least those required by the regulatory body and may exceed them.

Licenses members and ensures that they adhere to a certain set of professional and ethical standards.

The Operating Bylaws and Policies and Procedures serve as the governing documents of the Association.


The Massage Therapy Act, Operating Bylaws, Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Policy & Position Statements.

The rules that guide the day-to-day operations of the Association.


The rules that guide the day-to-day operations of the College.


Independent of the regulatory body.

*Stand-alone, an entirely separate entity, not regulated by the College (autonomous).

Self-regulated. Falls under the authority of the Government of New Brunswick and the Minister of Health

Sponsors and promotes the profession of massage therapy.Sets standards for advertising, ethics and discipline.
Provides post-graduate education (continuing education).Requires and monitors continuing education credits.
Provides optional insurance packages for members–professional liability insurance, healthcare benefits plan.Requires all registrants provide proof of professional liability insurance acceptable to the standard set by the College.

Led by a Board of Directors.

*Does not include lay members (public members/representation).

Led by a Board of Directors; including lay representatives (2) (public representation).

*Two lay persons, not members of the College, to act as public representatives on the Board of Directors.

Officers and Directors are appointed by membership.

Regional Directors are appointed by members who reside most of the time in representatives’ health zone.

Directors are appointed by membership.

Exception: Lay members are nominated by the Board of Directors and appointed by the Minister of Health; the Minister of Health may choose from a panel of not less than four persons.
Lobbies policy-makers, governmental and regulatory bodies to promote/protect the profession of massage therapy and the interests of its members.Liaises with government–Government generally has an arms-length relationship with the self-regulating profession.

Stakeholder (interested party) affected by the activities and performance of the College.

Have a vested interest in the proper functioning of the College.

College has a duty to ensure its proper operation in the public interest, but it must also ensure that the public perceives this to be the case.

A professional group can gain substantial benefits from self-regulation, including professional prestige, greater autonomy to set entry requirements and standards of practice.Has a responsibility to participate in the maintenance and development of the profession to keep it strong and healthy for the future.

Four groups have an interest in the ability of the self-governing body to fairly and effectively govern itself:

  • The public

  • The profession

  • The College’s members

  • The member’s clients

If the profession is unable to properly self-govern, its self-regulating status can be removed.

*Self-regulation is an exceptional privilege.