Non-therapeutic massage clinics in Quebec

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Massage therapy is an unregulated profession in Quebec, meaning there are no government-regulated, province-wide standards of practice or quality controls.

Over the past several years, there have been a growing number of massage establishments in Quebec that operate as massage parlours – offering sexual services in lieu of or together with a body rub or massage.

These operations are most easily identified by the public advertising they post – offering “additional” or “other” services and using sexually suggestive photos or language. They can also be identified by their long hours of operation, with many open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The concern: receipts are being issued 

A number of these operations advertise that they will issue receipts for insurance purposes – even though the services are clearly not eligible for coverage. Under the terms of our plans, coverage is available only for therapeutic or medically necessary services as accepted by standard medical practices.

As a result, we will decline all massage therapy claims if the service has been provided to a plan member in an establishment that we have determined is not in fact a true massage therapy clinic, either through its advertising, hours of operation or other evidence.

Plan member communication

We have provided some suggested messaging for you to distribute to your plan members about non-therapeutic massage practices in Quebec.

In the communication, we encourage plan members to research any massage provider they are considering to ensure it is a legitimate provider of therapeutic massage services. Any clinic that offers “additional” services or is a 24/7 operation will likely not meet the criteria as a quality provider.

Please use this communication as you deem appropriate – but please let your members know that Sun Life will not be paying any claims submitted for non-therapeutic massage services, even if a receipt has been provided.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the Sun Life Wellness Institute or its findings, please contact your Please contact your Client Service Administrator at 1-877-786-7227.