Sex assault charges against a Saskatoon massage therapist is renewing a push toward regulation of the industry in Saskatchewan.
Mark Donlevy, 48, was charged following two separate allegations of inappropriate touching.
The first complaint dates back three years ago, while the second complaint allegedly happened in July of this year.
Police said in a news release the women reported the alleged incidents in September after seeing online posts from other women who claimed they had similar experiences.
According to Lori Green, the executive director of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan (MTAS), there is nothing on the books right now that would prevent the accused from continuing to practice.
Additionally, the public has no way of knowing about the charges, unless they heard it on the news or through social media, without provincial regulations in place.
“Nobody walks in to any health professional’s office and asks if there is a pending investigation or crimes you have committed,” Green said.
“So you don’t really know who you are getting.”
Green wants that to change. She said MTAS started lobbying the provincial government for regulation of the industry back in 1996, but they have been very actively lobbying the government for the past eight years.
They brought forward draft regulation in April 2015, but it still has yet to be introduced in the house.
“Without regulation, we could certainly suspend a member. We could remove them from our membership base, but cannot enforce them not to practice,” Green said.
She said while the association has a vigorous complaints and investigation standard, along with a code of ethics, the province should oversee discipline.
Green wonders why there’s been a delay in bringing forward legislation in Saskatchewan, so MTAS can “at least have some form of investigation and perhaps preemptive suspension” in place.
The massage industry is regulated by the provincial government in B.C., Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick.