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CATCM - Canadian Association of Therapists in Complementary Medicine

ACDM - Association Canadienne des Massothérapeutes  et Autres thérapeutes en Médecines Alternatives

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Professional code of ethics

1-General clauses
2-Duty and obligations to the public
3-Duties and obligations towards the client
4-Duties and obligations towards the profession
5-Availability and due diligence
6-Professionnal secret
8-Independence and disinterestedness
9- Files accessibility
10- Professional fees
11- Asepsis
12-Relationship with members and the association
13- Duties and obligations towards the association






The masculine gender is used throughout this document for convenience only, and this information also concerns all female members.

In the event of a discrepancy between the French and English versions of these rules, the French version shall take precedence.

Violation of any article contained within this document by a therapist constitutes a derogatory act to the profession's dignity and to the Association's reputation.



1.1.1   In the present regulations, unless the context indicates a different significance, one understands:

a)  Association: The professional Association chosen by the therapist for professional conduct guidelines.

b)  Client: A person paying a member of the Association for their professional services.

c)  Colleague: A registered Association's board member.

d)  Immediate family: Therapist's spouse, child, father, mother, brother, sister, grandparents, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

e)  Member: A therapist detaining a registered membership with the Association's board.

f)  Plaintiff: Any person who files a complaint against a registered Association's board member.

g)  Therapist: Also includes the terms such as practitioner, massage therapist, and any other titles granted by the Association.

h)  Treatment: All bodily, manual, or other work of a global nature applied to a human being in order to attain prevention, maintenance and/or promote a health goal according to the expertise.


2.1.1   From the moment the therapist is registered to his Association under his legal name, this same name must be used on professional cards, advertisements and all other references to his professional practice.

2.1.2   The therapist must protect the health and well-being of his clients on an individual and collective level.

2.1.3   All documents confirming registration to the Association's board must be displayed publicly at the therapist's workplace.

2.1.4   In the exercise of his functions, the therapist must acknowledge any and all consequences that his research and work may have on society.

2.1.5   All education and information measures must be promoted in the therapist's treatment area.  Unless otherwise specified, the therapist must assume, within his professional exercise, any pertinent actions to insure his educative and informative functions towards the public.

2.1.6   When invited by the media to publicly represent his Association and his profession, the therapist must do so with honesty and exactitude while describing the methods generally permitted by his profession.

2.1.7   Member's opinions must be expressed with honesty, objectivity, discernment and accuracy. Members are committed to personally verify the veracity and nature of all information they may express.

2.1.8   Any personal opinions or moral values expressed by the therapist that do not conform to the Association's philosophy and the mission but are generally allowed within their discipline must be stated as personal opinions that do not reflect the opinions of his Association and its members.

2.1.9   A member's conduct must emanate moderation and dignity; he must avoid any type of exaggeration or sensationalism.

2.1.10  A member must be respectful of himself, of his language and his attitude at all times when at place of work.



3.1.1   The therapist must take into consideration the limits of his abilities, capacities and knowledge when exercising his profession.  He must refrain from delivering services for which he is not adequately trained or without obtaining necessary assistance.

3.1.2   In the event of a relocation or renunciation to his professional practice, the therapist must assure an adequate therapeutic follow-up for his clients.

3.1.3   The therapist must exercise his work with respect for his client's privacy, dignity and liberty.

3.1.4   The therapist cannot invoke a friendship, free consent , or  seductive manners with a client without consent from his client to justify a dispensation to his responsibility as a recognized member and to his ethical duties towards either his client or his Association.

3.1.5   The therapist cannot resort to dishonest or doubtful conduct while exercising his professional duties.

3.1.6   At no time may the therapist directly or indirectly undermine the client's free choice to consult another member of the Association or member of a professional order or any other competent person.

3.1.7   To insure the well-being of his client, the therapist must consult a colleague, a member of a professional order or any another competent person and the client may also be directed to one of these professionals.

3.1.8   The therapist must abstain practicing in any state, place or condition  that may compromise the quality, service and dignity of their profession.

3.1.9   The therapist must refrain from interfering with his client's personal business; avoid any indiscreet conversation with him, or using diverse tactics to obtain confidential information from the client.

3.1.10  The therapist must establish a trusting relationship between him and his clients.  To do so, the therapist must also:

a)  Avoid talking about his personal situation in any way or give any details concerning his private life;

b)  Avoid soliciting the implication of his client for a cause of any kind;

c)  Refrain from exercising his profession in an impersonal way;

d)  Respect the physical, mental and emotional limits of the client;

e)  Respect basic personal hygienic rules in order to avoid indisposing his client;

f)  Conduct his interviews by respecting client's personal values and convictions beliefs when receiving specific information from his client;

g)  Privilege the client's interests rather than his own interests and, amongst other things, avoid unnecessary appointments and/or unnecessary acts that may be inappropriate or disproportionate to the client's condition;

h)  Inquire about the client's health condition and designate these informations in his file;

i)  Expose to his clients, in a complete and objective way, the nature and modalities of provided services

3.1.11  The therapist is obliged to open a file containing the following informations for every new client and keep it up to date:

a)  Names, sex, date of birth and client's address;

b)  Consultation's date and time, client's condition as well as the client's history

c)  Description of applied health care;

d)  The therapist's comments and observations concerning the evaluation and evolution of his client during the session.

3.1.12  Any member who stops or refuses to provide necessary therapeutic services to a client must, if possible, direct the client to another professional in order that they may receive appropriate care.

3.1.13  While exercising his profession, the therapist must have an irreproachable conduct towards a client be it on a physical, mental or emotional level.


3.2.1   The therapist must not engage in any type of sexual activity with his client during his professional engagement towards him and for a period of one (1) year following the rendered services.

3.2.2   Also, the therapist must be conscious that a therapeutic relation can generate sexual arousal or other types of needs and desires in the client or in the therapist. Personal and/or intimate relationships, as well as sexual activities are in contradiction with the professional ethics and are forbidden within the period that the client receives services from the therapist and up to a period of one (1) year following the rendered services.

3.2.3   The therapist must not harass or sexually abuse/aggress his client and refrain at all time:

a)  From suggesting, proposing or pretending to be able to heal a client's problems or sexual dysfunctions, unless the therapist has received a specialized training with proof, such as a diploma and is a registered member of a corresponding Association, corporation or professional order;

b)  From acting with disobliging behavior, such as the use of sexually degrading gestures or expressions towards the client or demonstrating any lack of respect towards the client's private life;

c)  From making intriguing gestures or sexually connotative jokes, taking or accepting personal appointments implying a sexual nature and/or any other type of sexual misconduct;

d)  From any sexual relation, seduction games or indecent assaulting behavior with his client;

e)  From any actions aiming towards seduction or satisfaction of their personal emotional needs or those of the client in any way:

f)  From suggesting, proposing, simulating, or practicing techniques or bodily movements in order to touch, knead, rub, skim, examine or to manipulate the client's body in any way or to practice energizing movements with an aspiring purpose, acknowledged or not, to attain either the client's or therapist's seduction or sexual and affective needs;

g)  From suggesting, leading one to believe, encouraging, prescribing or practicing bodily or energizing maneuvers implying  sexually connotative caresses aimed to cure a client's emotional or psychosomatic problems;

h)  From expressing inappropriate sexually connotative comments or sexually degrading remarks towards the client or in regards to a client's physical appearance, clothes, underwear, sexual orientation or any other similar comments;

i)  From having  sexual relations , initiated or not by the client, which includes complete or partial sexual intercourse, masturbation or any other genital, oral or anal contact.

3.2.4   If the therapist evaluates that his client needs to consult a sexologist after confessions regarding sexual or dysfunctional problems, he must direct the client to an appropriate professional who is a member of a corporation, Association or professional order.


3.3.1   During client relations, the therapist must identify himself to his clients and avoid any false representation regarding his level of expertise or efficiency of his services. He must always display,  his name and his titles in his workplace as recognized by his Association and keep a code of ethics at their disposal.

3.3.2   The therapist must abstain from presenting false documents and/or information to anyone no matter the motive.

3.3.3   Member must have adequate and sufficient equipment to be able to provide services related to his title and expertise, and must insure that this equipment is in excellent working condition.

3.3.4   The therapist must fulfill his professional obligations with integrity, objectivity and moderation.

3.3.5   The therapist must avoid any false representation concerning his level of expertise. He must, in the exercise of his profession, remain within the limits of his capabilities, his knowledge and means at his disposal; he must, if the need arises, consult or orient his client to other professional services.

3.3.6   The member must avoid any reproachable behavior when obtaining his titles, expertise and attestations of study or diplomas.

3.3.7   The therapist must inform his client, in the shortest delay possible, of any detrimental damage that he committed while providing a professional service which could be difficult to repair.

3.3.8   The therapist must abstain from counseling any modification on his client's medication and, in his client's interest, respect opinions and advice of other health professionals.

3.3.9   The therapist must abstain from questioning medical diagnoses and/or criticizing opinions and advice from health professionals and must, in the client's interest, respect all other health professionals.



4.1.1   The therapist is being derogatory to the profession's dignity if he:

a)  Is found guilty of fraud in obtaining his titles and expertise;

b)  Refuses to provide services to a person because of  race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, civil status, age, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or origin, social condition, or because of a physical handicap;

c)  Takes advantage of his client's inexperience, ignorance, naivety, vulnerability or bad health condition while practicing;

d)  Procures or has his client procure an unjustified material advantage to a client, notably, distorting a declaration, a receipt, a report or any document relative to a client's health or to the provided service

e)  Is not appropriately dressed during practice hours, regardless of work location.

f)  Solicits, harasses or promotes the use of illegal substances or hallucinogenic drugs at any time as a complement to the treatment;

g)  Practices his work while he is under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, narcotic preparations, anesthetic or any other substance which can lead to drunkenness, perturbed faculties or unconsciousness;

h)  Intervenes with a client whose faculties are affected by alcohol, medicines of any kind, narcotics, drugs or hallucinogens likely to create confusion and ambiguity on the therapeutic nature of the service to be provided, except if the therapist is in a framework adapted for these types of problems.

i)  Acts or behaves contrary to what is generally allowed in the exercise and practice of the profession;

j)  Uses physical gestures or psychological manipulation in order to incite a client, directly or indirectly, to sexual acts;

k)  Takes advantage of his profession to pointlessly undress a client when not required by his condition;

l)  Communicates with a plaintiff when informed of an inquiry regarding his behavior or his competence or is informed of a complaint concerning him;

m)  Accepts or offers money or any other advantage in order to influence or contribute to a decision adopted by the Association, board of directors or general assembly, or anyone in the committees or an official;

n)  Makes a diagnosis and\or expresses criticisms on advice or opinions received by his client's other therapist or health professional;

o)  Incites or uses pressure to persuade someone to receive or pursue his professional services;

p)  Does not inform his Association when he has reasons to believe a member is incompetent or derogates from the ethic code;

q)  Omits to inform the Association that he has reasons to believe that a person who makes or wishes to make an adhesion request does not meet the required criteria;

r)  Guaranties, directly or indirectly, healing of an illness, injury or any other pathology;

s)  Demands fees for fictitious professional acts, this excludes purchasing gift vouchers, or when a preliminary agreement signed by the client indicating there would be extra charges if a client does not inform of his absence at least 24 hours in advance unless for a major reason;

t)  Claims an amount of money from a client for a complete or partial professional service when the amount is already assumed by a third party;

u)  Does not respect the contracts and agreements made with his client (Gift certificate, subscription, etc.);

v)  Signs and gives one or several receipts for insurance purposes to the buyer or to the gift certificate recipient;

w)  Uses an insurance receipt for an activity not constituting a treatment as defined in the present Code, for a treatment that has not been done by the person who signed the receipt, for a treatment that has not been received by the client whose name appears on the receipt, or indicates an amount that does not correspond to the price paid by the client;

x)  Provides to anyone an unjustified financial or material advantage or any other related advantage, notably while distorting a declaration, report, receipt or any other related document pertaining to the client's health or to a service provided to him;

y)  Suggests or encourages a client to commit an illegal or fraudulent act.


4.2.1   The therapist must, help the development of his Association, by participating in courses and ongoing educational training;


5.1.1   The therapist who uses any type of technique for body treatment must use, in the exercise of his profession, reasonable availability and conscientiousness. He must offer particular attention notably to his client's privacy by offering a discreet place to dress and undress and by leaving the treatment room before and after a session. The therapist must respect the client's right to keep certain pieces of clothing during the session.

5.1.2   The therapist must offer the appropriate technique to assure the client's personal progress or direct him toward another qualified and recognized therapist by the Association

5.1.3   The therapist must be loyal, honest and attentive towards his client.

5.1.4   The therapist must show honesty and transparency related to services provided to his client. He must provide him with necessary explanation, understanding and appreciation of the services rendered.

5.1.5   The therapist must abstain from expressing opinions or give contradictory or incomplete advice.  Furthermore, he must try to gain complete knowledge of the facts before giving any opinion or advice.

5.1.6   The therapist may not, except for just and reasonable motives, stop or refuse to provide necessary treatments to a client. The following constitute just and reasonable motives:

a)  Loss of confidence of the client towards the therapist and vice versa;

b)  Incompatibility of character between the therapist and the client;

c)  Incitement from the client to perform illegal, unjust or fraudulent acts;

d)  If the therapist finds himself in a conflict of interest   or a context where his professional independence could be questioned;

e)  Any reproachable behavior from the client's part and, particularly, implying force, threats, coercion, psychological, verbal or physical violence or any sexually suggestive gesture;

f)  The client's personal hygiene;

g)  If a client refuses to use sheets or blankets to cover himself when undressed;

h)  A therapist's inability to work with information provided by the client;

i)  Lack of experience or resources following a change of client's condition;

j)  A reasonable risk for the therapist's or the client's health;

k)  Loss of integrity on the part of the client or the therapist;

l)  A client who is under the influence of alcohol, drug or all substance that may affect his lucidity or his health;

m)  A client's inappropriate behavior in his relation with the therapist.


6.1.1   The therapist is bonded to an oath of secrecy and must not disclose any information of confidential nature obtained in the exercise of his profession.

6.1.2   The content of a client file, as held by a therapist, cannot be revealed, confided or handed to a third party, in all or in part, without written authorization from the client in question or when required by the law.

6.1.3   When a therapist intervenes with several members of a family, right to professional secret for every member must be protected at all time.

6.1.4   The therapist must not use confidential information in any way that may cause a prejudice to his client or in order to get a direct or indirect advantage for himself or for any other person.

6.1.5   The therapist must avoid all indiscreet conversation regarding his clients and services provided to them.

6.1.6   In the case where a therapist wants to record, photograph or film an interview, he must get written consent from the client beforehand.

6.1.7   The therapist must abstain from intervening in his client's personal business. On the other hand, he must collaborate with his clients or their relatives or with all other person when his client's interest requires it, in which case all parties must agree, especially the client.

6.1.8   The therapist must convey objectivity and with discernment during any information request.


7.1.1   The therapist must, within the exercise of his profession, fully assume his personal civil responsibility. Insertion of a clause excluding, directly or indirectly, in total or in part, the above mentioned responsibility is strictly forbidden.

7.1.2   The therapist must consult a recognized professional if he feels vulnerable concerning any emotional, psychological or sexual disorder.  If such assistance is not available, he must abstain from practicing his work.

7.1.3   The therapist must resort to his personal resources in order to be emotionally balanced and in healthy sexual and psychological health without having to turn to his clients to fulfill his emotional, psychological or sexual needs.


8.1.1   The therapist must keep his client's interests in mind before his own personal interests.

8.1.2   The therapist must ignore any intervention from a third party capable of influencing the execution of his professional duties and risk causing a prejudice to his client.

8.1.3   The therapist must protect his professional independence at all times and avoid any situation which could lead to a conflict of interest.

8.1.4   A therapist cannot have his immediate family or any other resident under the same roof, benefit from unjustified benefits related to his professional practice, such as receipts for repayment purposes.  However the therapist may, at all times, give a treatment to one or another of these residents, but without emitting a receipt for reimbursement.

8.1.5   As soon as a conflict of interest situation arises, the therapist must notify his client and, as far as possible, should provide support to assist him finding another therapis.

8.1.6   A therapist cannot share his fees with fellow therapist unless such sharing corresponds to a distribution of services and/or responsibilities and so long as his autonomy is respected.

8.1.7   With the exception of allowed remuneration, the therapist must abstain from receiving, remitting or committing to remit any discount and/or gift.

8.1.8   Tipping is a form of remuneration that is socially recognized; tipping is therefore left to the client's discretion.

8.1.9   The therapist must abstain at all time from asking funds, publishing, recruiting, directing or soliciting clients to consult or adhere to esoteric, religious, spiritual or political groups.


9.1.1   The therapist must keep his files in a locked place or room to which the public has no access.  He must also take reasonable measures with regard to his employees and staff members that are around him so as to preserve the confidentiality of his clients' records' content.

9.1.2   The access to information contained in a file is free. However, the therapist can request a reasonable price for any transcription, reproduction or transmission of information required by a client. The therapist who intends to ask for such fee must, before conducting the transcription, reproduction or transmission, inform his client of the approximate amount to pay.



10.1.1  The therapist must ask for and accept reasonable rates.

10.1.2  ates are fair and reasonable if justified by the circumstances and are proportional to the services provided.  The therapist must take into account the following factors when establishing his fees:

a)  His experience;

b)  The time allotted to provide professional services;

c)  The difficulty and importance of the service;

d)  Furnishing of atypical services or requiring a specific expertise or exceptional promptness;

e)  Education and training.

10.1.3  The therapist must provide his client with any necessary explanations to demystify a fee summary and payment mode.

10.1.4  The therapist cannot require payment for his services before they are provided.

10.1.5  The therapist cannot ask for fees for services that are not supplied, except if a cancellation politic is already in place and that the client is informed of this disposition. The therapist, in such a case, cannot ask for more than the usual fees perceived for a session.

10.1.6  The therapist must advise his client on the cost for his services.


10.2.1  The therapist must consider the sale of products like a service to his clientele and not as a main source of income.

10.2.2  The therapist must abstain at all time from making excessive advertisement and using his professional status for pressuring sales.

10.2.3  The therapist can sell products as long as they are in relation to his therapeutic practice and are complementary in the exercise of his practice

10.2.4  The therapist cannot commercialize products or methods susceptible to cause harm to client's health.

10.2.5  The therapist cannot mention or insinuate that the Association recognizes, endorses or suggest different objects, accessories and/or apparatuses.


10.3.1  The Association and each of its members has a duty to inform the consumer of the genuine possibilities, limits and contradictions of a treatment and products offered by the therapist, such as objects, accessories and/or apparatuses related to the well-being of the client.


10.4.1  When a therapist wishes to publicize his services, he is allowed to promotionally use a logo as well as any other methods of identification to the Association and demonstrate his adherence to it, while respecting its mission and its philosophy.

10.4.2  A therapist may not use a logo and/or any other material used to identify the Association for:

a)  Fund raising;

b)  Recruiting, directing or soliciting the public or his clients to adhere to groups considered esoteric, religious, spiritual or political.

10.4.3  Information destined to consumers must take precedence over all forms of advertisement


10.5.1  A therapist cannot attribute himself specific qualities or abilities if unable to justify them.



11.1.1  The workplace must be harmoniously decorated, clean and regularly maintained. The sinks and toilets must be cleaned regularly with an antiseptic product and disinfectant.


11.2.1  The therapist must wash his hands with an adequate disinfectant product before and after every body treatment.


11.3.1  The therapist must insure that the equipment used for treatment (sheets, towels, cushions, apparatuses, etc.) are washed and/or disinfected with an appropriate product before every treatment.


12.1.1  The therapist must avoid abusing of  a colleague's faith in him or being held responsible of a confidence breach or through a disloyal practice. He must not fraudulently take credit for a colleague's work.

12.1.2  The therapist consulted by a colleague must provide his opinion and his recommendations within a reasonable delay.

12.1.3  The therapist who is called upon to collaborate with a colleague must preserve his professional independence. If one entrusts him a task which goes against his values or to his morality, he may ask to be dispensed.

12.1.4  The therapist must not discredit in any way the reputation of the Association or one of its members.

12.1.5  The therapist who reproduces the graphic symbol of the Association for advertising purposes must ensure all material used is in conformity to the original detained by the Association's secretary.

12.1.6  Any member of the Association who collaborates and/or recommends a joined intervention with another therapist must ensure that the other professional has completed his formation and that he fulfills the ethical norms of his Association or professional order, and that this Association or order has a suitable disciplinary mechanism in place.

12.1.7  The members must abstain from hindering work of the Association's directors or the committees' members, or to deceive them by any reluctant behavior, by false declarations or by producing inappropriate documentation, or refusing to provide them necessary information or documents essential to a smooth function of the Association's activities and committees.

12.1.8  The therapist cannot have the admission exam or its corrected version in his possession or have the intent to sell it or to help someone in the process of admission in the Association

12.1.9  The therapist must inform the board of directors, if the following cases arise:

a)  Complaints, suspension and/or exclusion of the therapist while he is or was part of another professional Association;

b)  The possession of a criminal file, without necessarily revealing the nature of the offences;

c)  His adherence or admission as member of an alternative medicine Association other than the Association.

12.1.10 Any therapist who does not conform to items: 12.9.1 a), b) or c) when admitted, is liable of suspension or exclusion. The therapist must inform the board of directors of any update necessary to his file within 90 days.


13.1.1  The therapist must use the official receipts of the Association; he is also responsible for all receipts in his possession and their usage and has to be their only user and signatory. He can't, in any way, in part or in whole, reproduce the Association's official receipts.  It is obligatory for the therapist to entirely complete the Association's receipts.





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