The Ultimate Guide to Tipping in Canada

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    As a new Canadian or a novice tip-giver, you may wonder how much to tip in certain situations. In a recent survey about ‘tip creep’, more than 60 percent of Canadians say they get asked to give more. Further, those requests come more often and at stores that didn’t seek out tips before. Now, businesses often build a tip into their services and more of them seek out these extras more openly.

    In this ultimate guide to tipping in Canada, we’ll cover everything you need to know to about tipping etiquette. We’ll also ensure you don’t accidentally offend anyone while trying to show your generosity!

    Why Should I Give Tips to Service Workers in Canada?

    Canadians commonly tip workers as a way to show their appreciation for good service. While you can make a personal choice, Canadians have several reasons for giving tips to service workers. At times, it incentivizes better service, but in many professions, employees expect tips since they form a significant part of their wages.

    Tipping in Canada to Get a Better Service

    First, tips can serve as a direct feedback mechanism for service workers. When individuals receive tips for exceptional service, it reinforces their efforts and motivates them to provide excellent service to customers. By tipping generously, you acknowledge and reward the hard work and dedication of these individuals.

    Tipping to recognize the Value of Service

    Service workers, such as waitstaff, bartenders, delivery drivers and hotel staff, often work long hours and perform physically demanding tasks. Tipping in Canada recognizes the value of their service beyond their base wages. It allows customers to express gratitude for the extra effort put in by these workers to ensure a positive experience.

    Tipping to supporting livelihoods

    In many professions, tips form a significant part of employees’ income. Of course, the minimum wage laws apply to all workers in Canada. Historically, certain industries, such as the hospitality sector, have had a lower minimum wage for employees who receive tips. However, only Quebec has a lower minimum wage for food and beverage servers. Tipped employees get paid $12.20, $3.55 less than minimum wage in other industries. Regardless, every dollar an employee takes home helps them pay their bills so every little bit helps. Here are the minimum salaries for employees across Canada: 

    ProvinceMinimum wage
    British Columbia$16.75
    Quebec$12.20 for tipped employees $15.75 for everyone else
    New Brunswick$14.75
    Nova Scotia$14.50
    Newfoundland and Labrador$14.50
    Prince Edward Island$14.50
    Northwest Territories$15.20

    Tipping Etiquette in Various Settings

    Knowing the appropriate amount to tip in various settings can confuse you, but why not show appreciation for good service? Follow these guidelines to hit the right mark:

    Restaurants and Bars

    When eating out, diners customarily leave a tip between 15 percent and 20 percent of your total bill, before tax. This shows your gratitude for the service provided by your server. However, if the service exceeded your expectations, feel free to leave a larger tip. On the other hand, if the service disappointed you, you may tip less or speak to a manager about your experience.

    Remember, servers often rely on tips as a significant portion of their income. By leaving a generous tip, you can help support those in the service industry.

    Fast food and retail

    In the realm of fast food restaurants and retail establishments, staff don’t typically expect tips. However, these types of businesses have begun to include tip options on the point-of-sale (POS) terminals, letting customers decide.

    In fast food restaurants, where tipping rarely happens, some customers may choose to leave a little extra occasionally. This serves as a means of expressing appreciation for the service provided. Even a dollar or some loose change makes for a thoughtful gesture in these settings.

    Similarly, in coffee shops, customers commonly round up the bill or leave a small amount as a token of appreciation. For example, if the total for a cup of coffee costs $3.50, leaving an additional $0.50 shows gratitude. 

    In bakeries, tips can be given to acknowledge the generosity of the staff. For instance, if you purchase six croissants and receive an extra one, customers may say ‘thanks’ through a tip. The amount given in such cases can vary. However, consider giving $1 or more, depending on the level of satisfaction and the value of the extra item received.

    Delivery Services

    What about when it comes to receiving deliveries through apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and SkipTheDishes? You’ll want to recognize the effort put into bringing your order to your doorstep. Whether you get food or other items, tipping serves as a meaningful way to show appreciation to the delivery person.

    Generally, tipping on these delivery apps adds up to around 10 to 15 percent of the total bill. For smaller orders, please provide a minimum tip of $2 to $3. However, factor in external factors such as weather conditions and distance when determining your tip. If you live in a remote area or the weather is particularly harsh, you may want to tip more generously.

    In the end, tipping in Canada is also about brightening someone’s day. Whether you mark a special event, the holiday season or a routine delivery, even small tips go a long way. Ultimately, it makes the delivery person feel valued and appreciated for their work.

    Uber Rides

    Tipping Uber drivers acknowledges that you value their service. You can give tips after every ride, regardless of the amount. Even small tips accumulate and make a difference for drivers facing expenses like gas, maintenance, taxes, insurance and mobile data. Tipping can help drivers afford these costs and maintain their vehicles properly, ensuring safety for passengers. The recommended tip amount stands around 10 to 20 percent of the total fare. Typically, that ranges from $1 to $2 for short rides to $5 to $10 for longer rides. To do so, you can either use the in-app tipping feature or provide cash directly to the driver. Ultimately, tipping in Canada rewards exceptional service and shows drivers that their efforts are valued.

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    Personal Care Services

    When visiting hair salons or spas, plan to tip around 15 to 20 percent of your total bill. This demonstrates your appreciation for the hard work and expertise of the stylist or technician who provided your service. Make sure to tip the person who provided the service directly, rather than giving the money to the receptionist.

    By leaving a generous tip, you can help support those in the personal care industry and their hard work.

    Tipping During Special Events and Holidays

    During special events and holidays, keep in mind the people who work hard to make these occasions memorable. Whether you attend a wedding, host a large party or receive flowers, tipping says ‘thank you’ to those who serve you.

    Weddings and Large Parties

    Weddings and other large events create stress for those who work behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. Commonly, bartenders and waiters get tipped 15 to 20 percent of the total bill or by a flat per-person rate. However, check with the event planner or venue to determine if gratuities are included in the bill. If so, you may still want to consider offering a small tip to show your appreciation for exceptional service.

    In addition to tipping service staff, you may also want to tip other vendors who provide services for your event. For example, you may tip a DJ or photographer at the end of the night to recognize their hard work.

    Tipping in Hotels

    When it comes to tipping in Canada’s hotels, it reflects good service by hotel employees. Bellhops, who assist with luggage, are typically tipped $2  to $5 per bag, with slightly more for oversized or challenging items. In small B&Bs where owners handle luggage, don’t plan to tip. However, if other employees provide bellhop services, please offer a tip.

    Housekeeping staff often go unnoticed, so leave a daily tip of $2 to $5 per day, depending on the job’s size. You can choose to leave a note with the money to express gratitude. For valet service, tip $2 to $5, depending on the effort and care taken by the driver.

    Tipping Tour Guides

    If you go on a guided tour or outdoor activity like skiing or rafting, plan to tip your guide or instructor $10 to $20 per day. This shows appreciation for their expertise and hard work in providing a safe and enjoyable experience. If the activity lasts longer than a day, you can adjust the tip accordingly or pay up at the end.

    By leaving a generous tip, you can help support those in the tourism and outdoor recreation industry. They work hard and deserve a little extra from grateful clients.

    How Much to Tip in Different Situations

    Knowing how much to tip can be tricky, but it ranks as an important part of etiquette and good manners. Whether you dine out, stay in a hotel or get a massage, tipping in Canada says a lot about you. Follow these tips on how much to tip in different situations, as well as when to tip more or less.

    Standard Tipping Percentages

    As mentioned, a good rule of thumb says to aim for 15 to 20 percent of the total bill before tax. This applies to most situations, including restaurants, hairdressers and taxi rides. However, check for a specific suggested or expected amount, especially in places like hotels or spas.

    Remember, tipping in Canada isn’t just about the percentage; it also addresses the quality of service. If the service blew your mind, tip more, as a way of saying thank you.

    Tipping for Exceptional Service

    If you receive exceptional service in any field, leave a larger-than-normal tip. This could include anything from an exceptionally warm welcome at a hotel to a particularly engaging museum tour. In situations like these, it shows you value the hard work and effort that went into making your experience memorable.

    Further, you may receive exceptional service from someone who doesn’t normally receive tips – like librarians or a volunteer tour guide. Surprise them with a nice gesture of a small tip as a way of saying thank you.

    When Not to Tip or to Tip Less

    While you’ll rarely encounter situations where tipping is discouraged, in some circumstances you don’t need to. For example, you don’t have to tip in fast food restaurants or stores that sell everyday items. 

    Similarly, if you’ve received poor service, feel free to tip less or not at all. However, speak to the manager or supervisor if you’ve had a bad experience. That way, it gives them the opportunity to address the issue and improve service in the future.

    In some countries, tipping is not expected or considered an insult. If you travel abroad, take time to research local customs and etiquette before you go.

    In conclusion, with no hard and fast rules, aim for 15 to 20 percent of the total bill before tax. However, if you receive exceptional service or experience extenuating circumstances, tip more. And if you’ve had a bad experience, it’s okay to give less or nothing at all. But always give feedback to the establishment so they can improve their service in the future.

    Navigating Unique Tipping Scenarios

    Tipping commonly occurs in many countries, but you may not know when and how much to tip in different situations. These tips on navigating unique tipping scenarios may help you feel more confident when dining out or receiving services.

    Tipping in Response to Subpar Service

    In infrequent cases, you might justify adjusting the gratuity to less than 15 percent. Bear in mind, factors such as overcooked meals, establishment ambiance or parking difficulties should not sway your tip. The tip should reflect the service quality.

    Three situations might warrant a reduction in your tip:

    • First, if a waiter or waitress personally offends or insults you, you can lower their tip. Tolerating verbal rudeness should never be an obligation for customers. 
    • Second, indifference by your server, by ignoring requests or disregarding order mistakes, signifies a lack of commitment to their role. This scenario qualifies for a lower tip. 
    • Lastly, any manifestation of discriminatory behavior by the server provides a valid reason for withholding the tip. In such instances, either involve a superior or depart from the establishment. 

    These tipping exceptions underscore the criticality of delivering service with respect and attention.

    Tipping in Cash vs. Credit Card

    While credit cards make it easy to leave a tip, you may inadvertently shortchange the person who provided the service. Credit card processing fees and tip pooling can reduce the amount of the tip that the server receives. Instead, carry small bills or change to tip with cash when possible. Not only does this ensure they get the full amount, but it also feels more personal.

    Remember, some establishments, such as food trucks or street vendors, may only accept cash. In these cases, cash tips are your only option.

    Splitting the Bill and Tipping

    When dining with a group, tipping in Canada is based on the total bill, not individual orders. So, if you order a salad while your friend has steak, you should still split the tip evenly.

    Splitting the bill evenly can become complicated, especially if some people have ordered more expensive items or shared dishes. Consider using a bill-splitting app or asking for separate bills to make the process easier.

    Finally, communicate with your dining companions about how much to tip. If someone in the group insists on leaving a smaller tip, it makes it awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Make sure everyone is on the same page before leaving the restaurant.

    Handling Service Charges and Gratuities

    Some establishments may automatically add a service charge or gratuity to your bill. This often happens for large parties or events. In these cases, you don’t need to leave an additional tip unless you receive exceptional service.

    If you do receive five-star service, consider whether to leave an additional tip. While it may go to the server, they may split it among other staff members, such as bussers or bartenders. Leaving an additional tip ensures that the server who provided exceptional service gets recognized.

    Moreover, not all service charges or gratuities are created equal. Some establishments may charge a flat fee, while others may tack on a percentage of the total bill. Make sure you understand the policy before deciding whether to leave an additional tip.

    FAQs About Tipping in Canada

    Do I need to tip if I’m unhappy with the service?

    Of course, you may choose to tip less if you receive poor service. First, consider the reasons for the poor service and if they fall within the control of your server. Naturally, always address any issues with the service provider or their manager.

    Is it rude to not tip in Canada?

    Tipping in Canada has become part of the national culture where we express gratitude with a little cash. Therefore, a server could take offence if you don’t meet their expectations. Ideally, if you choose not to tip, do so for a specific reason and explain it to your server or their boss. Businesses can only improve if you give them feedback. 

    How do I handle tipping when traveling with a group?

    When traveling with a group, consider pooling your resources to leave a larger tip that reflects the total bill. This can sometimes make the process easier and ensure everyone contributes fairly.

    How much do you tip at restaurants in Canada?

    Typically, plan to tip 15 to 20 percent based on the level of service. Give more if your server wows you. At this point, 15 to 18 percent counts as the low range.

    Why are fast food restaurants asking for tips in Canada? 

    Given all the staff shortages in this industry, adding a little more to workers’ incomes helps them retain them. Additionally, rising food prices have made it more expensive for restaurants to buy supplies. Since they cannot afford to pay higher wages, they ask customers to boost workers’ earnings via tips. However, it’s not rude or uncommon not to leave any tip at a fast food restaurant. 

    Can a restaurant force you to tip in Canada?

    No, you always have the option to decline. Even point-of-sale machines have a button to say no. It may not stand out as prominently as the request for a 15 percent gratuity, but look for it. 

    How much should you tip at a bar? 

    Generally, in Canadian bars, the expected tip is the same as at restaurants, ranging from 15% to 20% of your total bill. However, if you order a less expensive drink, make sure to tip the bartender at least $1 to $2 per drink. Giving anything less could potentially result in difficulties getting served your next drink.

    How much to tip a hairdresser in Canada?

    Surprisingly, you can expect to add anywhere from $10 to $30 for this already costly service. Since you tend to have more personal conversations with this professional, it creates an expectation for higher tipping. Of course, if you get a quick cut from a franchise, you can tip less, such as $5.

    How much to tip a hairdresser on a $150 service?

    Mathematically, based on the recommended percentages of 15 to 20 percent, you would tip $22.50 to $30. However, to run up a bill like this, you probably left with a colour or service that took significant time. Factor in those hours, since the stylist may have worked on other clients while you sat aside. Also, consider how this treatment made you feel afterward.

    How much to tip a tattoo artist in Canada? 

    Generally, use the same equation of 15 to 20 percent of the total bill before taxes. For example, if your tattoo costs $200, you can tip between $30 to $40.

    How much to tip movers in Canada?

    After a successful move, plan to add 10 to 20 percent of your final bill to tip a mover in Canada. This amount arises from the total amount stated on your invoice and gets divided among the crew. Of course, if things get broken or lost, you may withhold a tip.

    How much to tip an Uber driver in Canada?

    In this case, budget 10 to 20 percent of the total fare. Usually, this adds up to $1 to $2 on short rides and $5 to $10 on longer rides.

    How much to tip for a taxi in Canada? 

    For each ride, opt to tip 10  to 20 percent of the final fare. For instance, a good tip would be $2 on an $10 fare or $7 on a $40 fare. 

    How much tip for a limo driver in Canada?

    Similarly, tips  usually add up to 15 percent or more if you want.

    How much should I tip an Uber Eats driver?

    On average, customers and drivers say $4 is fair but it barely covers the cost to get your food. Remember, a delivery fee can easily eat up more than half of the cost of gas, etc. before a tip. Adding a little more helps your delivery person pay their bills. In this case, no tips would be extremely rude.

    How much to tip for car detailing?

    This job takes a lot of knowledge, physical effort and pliability. That’s why you pay someone else to get into those nooks and crannies. To reward their attention to detail (no pun intended), tack on 10 percent more to the bill.

    How much to tip a courtesy shuttle driver?

    At an airport or hotel, plan to give a $2 tip if your driver was friendly or helpful. Those amounts add up and brighten the day of a person who gets you safely to your destination.

    How much to tip for lashes?

    Estheticians suggest a tip of 20% or $10 for eyelash extensions, lash lifts and lash tints. They go through a great deal of training to perfect their craft and must earn a license to practice. 

    How much to tip a free walking tour guide? 

    Most people tip their guides between $10 and $20, depending on how much they enjoyed the tour. In this case, tipping in Canada is optional, but appreciated.

    How much to tip a locksmith in Canada?

    The standard rate for locksmith tipping stands at 15 to 20 of the final bill. Remember, this professional helps you protect your home, family or business.

    Do Doordash drivers know how much you tip them? 

    In this app, customers set a tip as they place an order during checkout. Drivers will see these tips listed  in your earnings but not until they have dropped off your food.
    Doordash drivers can not see the amount of the tip before completing the delivery. However, they can usually calculate the tip based on the order’s final price.

    How much should I tip for valet parking?

    Typically, drop a $5 or $10 bill into the hand of your valet driver when picking up your car. After all, they took care of one of your valuable assets.

    How much do you tip a cleaning lady?

    In general, leave $10 to $15 to thank your cleaner if they come weekly. To manage your finances, you could also offer four times this amount at the end of each month. After all, they clean up all those messes you leave behind.

    How much do you tip a dog groomer? 

    Overall, 10 percent makes sense for a low-maintenance breed with short hair. However, move it up to a minimum of 15 percent for a dog whose coat gets matted or needs other TLC. You can offer more if your groomer wows you.

    How much do you tip a dog walker?

    You have two options here. First, slip your dog walker 15 to 20 percent more in cash per outing. Alternatively, you can give them anywhere from $100 to $500 as a bonus at the end of the year. Both say ‘thanks’ but on different timelines.

    How much do you tip a fishing guide in Canada?

    In this case, an appropriate tip works out to seven to 15 percent of the value of your trip. You can offer up to 20 percent for an exceptional job. First, check to see if the travel company has a set rate.

    How much do you tip a photographer?

    If your photographer owns the business, they have probably built a hefty fee into the price already. However, for an employee, consider adding 10 to 15 percent for a job well done.

    Are you supposed to tip at a bakery?

    It is not rude or uncommon not to leave a tip at a bakery, unless they offer table service. If you receive good service, or that cookie makes your day, feel free to toss your loose change into the tip jar. It sends a signal that you value the person serving you. If they don’t have a jar, then skip it.

    Are you supposed to tip in cafés? 

    It is not rude or uncommon not to leave a tip at a café, unless they offer table service. However, if you feel like slipping the staff some extra coin, go for it. In the big picture, this small gesture tells an employee that you acknowledge their good work. 

    Do you tip at an open bar wedding?

    Even if you don’t pay for your beverages, a person still takes the time and care to prepare them. Overall, give the bartender $2 for a beer or glass of wine and up to $5 for a mixed drink.

    How much are tips taxed in Canada?

    If you receive tips as part of your work, you must declare this income when you file your  taxes. Add up the total you collect between January 1 and December 31 each year. Next, report the total amount received on line 10400 of your income tax return. The level of taxes you pay will depend on how much you earn during that year. Generally, you pay 15 percent in taxes on any income up to $53,359. If the CRA finds out you haven’t declared all your tips, you will have to pay what you owe, plus interest and possibly penalties.

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    About The Author: Arthur Dubois
    Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since arriving in Canada, he has managed to build his credit score, which he monitors for free using Borrowell. Arthur invests in the stock market without paying any fees through the online broker Wealthsimple Trade and earns 2.5% interest on the money he keeps in his EQ Bank's Savings Plus Account. He pays for his online subscriptions using his prepaid KOHO credit card, and uses his BMO CashBack Mastercard for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.

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