Tipping is not expected or required for the services of a RMT in British Columbia.
The College of Massage Therapists of BC (CMTBC) recognizes that in some settings (ie. A Spa or Mobile) a RMT will receive tips, as it is customary etiquette to tip for services received in these environments.
In a Clinical office setting tipping is not common and is typically discouraged.
RMTs are Primary Health Care Providers under the BC Health Act, so the question of tipping then is compared to the question: ‘would you tip your Dentist or Nurse?’ And of course in Canada, the answer is no.
In my home-based massage therapy office, I do not expect or require tips. There is not a tip button on my point-of-sale machine, so you will not be prompted to tip during your payment.
A small number of clients seem to feel more comfortable in leaving me a tip, or they like to bring me homemade baking from time to time. I realize that these kind gestures are important to them in expressing thankfulness for my help, therefore I will humbly accept, as tipping does not alter the level of professional service received by any person in my care.
Below is the most recent statement from the CMTBC bylaws on Standards of Practice for RMTs:
Does the CMTBC standard of practice on professional boundaries allow tipping?
The new CMTBC standard of practice on professional boundaries took effect on July 1, 2018. CMTBC has heard from some RMTs that they would like clarification on what section 10 of the standard means for the practice of accepting tips from patients, particularly in spa environments where the practice is more common. Section 10 of the boundaries standard states:
An RMT refrains from giving gifts to patients or receiving gifts (including tips) from patients, except where the RMT’s objectivity or ability to act in the patient’s best interests will not be compromised.
The standard does not mean that RMTs cannot accept tips under any circumstances. Rather, it means that an RMT must always exercise professional judgement in terms of reflecting on and assessing whether and how a tip or gift from a patient might affect the RMT’s professional relationship with that patient. A tip may be accepted where the RMT believes that it will not compromise his or her objectivity and ability to act in the patient’s best interests.
Many RMTs do not accept tips because they believe that it is inconsistent with delivery of massage therapy within a medical model. Some RMTs do accept tips. Both positions are acceptable under the new standard of practice, provided that the decision is based on a consideration of the RMT’s objectivity and the patient’s best interests.
If you, as an RMT, decide to refuse an offered tip in circumstances where it may constitute a boundary violation, and/or because your objectivity or ability to act in the patient’s best interests would be compromised, you may thank the patient for the gesture but politely decline. You may use the opportunity to explain why the tip is being refused, in a sensitive and gracious manner.
In exercising their professional discretion, RMTs should consider factors such as why the patient has offered the tip, and the value of the tip. “