The Tipping Point
by Edward Tonus, RMT
With apologies to William Shakespeare,
To Tip or not to Tip, that is the question…
There is currently a heated discussion on Facebook through one of our associations (RMTAO) on accepting tips. One of the members posted about the recent ruling by the CRA: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/cra-crackdowns-incentive-for-service-workers-to-declare-tips-on-taxes-202545812.html about whether you are accepting tips but not reporting them and the possibility of being audited.
Personally, I do not accept tips.
As a medical profession, why are you even considering the question?
We are the only profession in the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) that accepts tips. Why?
We are also the only profession in the RHPA that charges HST. Why?
This paper will focus on the former, rather than the latter as that is a topic for another day.
Tips were first introduced to augment the low paying wages of service employees who provided service for a job well done; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratuity. As Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) we do not fall into that category as we are well compensated for the service which we provide.
Currently the stance of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) on tipping is to leave it to the discretion of the RMT. Well, that isn’t working. We must educate the public that tips are frowned upon in our profession, and inform the CMTO that they must legislate the banning of tips into our Code of Ethics.
If we as a profession want to be accepted as equals by other members of the RHPA, then the accepting of tips must stop and be legislated out of existence.
When I am offered a tip, I politely refuse and ask the patient to either:
1. re-book another appointment to continue with their health care
2. refer a friend or family member for massage
3. write a review at their discretion
In conclusion, we must educate our members (RMT) of the value for the service that we provide to the public and that a gratuity is not needed, nor expected as we are medical professionals.
The question you need to ask yourself is; Would you tip your Doctor?