With its varied landscape, incredible cities, and vibrant culture, Canada is a popular destination for travel lovers from all over the world. But when it comes to showing appreciation for goods and services, where does the country stand on tipping?
In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about tipping in Canada. We’ll walk you through when you should leave a tip and when you shouldn’t and look at some of the reasons why tipping is expected in certain situations.
What is the Tipping Culture in Canada?
Much like in the USA, tipping in Canada is common practice and is an integral part of the service industry, and while it isn’t mandatory, it is generally expected as it shows appreciation for good service. The amount of money you should leave typically ranges from 15%-20% of the total bill in bars, restaurants, and other areas of the hospitality industry, although this is totally discretionary, and the amount you tip will vary depending on your satisfaction with the service you receive.
It isn’t just restaurants and bars you’re expected to tip in, though. Other industries, such as hair salons, hotel services, and taxis, will also expect (and appreciate) you leaving a tip as a sign of gratitude for providing good service.
Why is Tipping So Common in Canada?
There are a few reasons why tipping is common practice in Canada, and one of the biggest is that many people who work in the service industry rely on tips to make up a significant portion of their income. This stems from the fact that workers in this sector were, and often still are, typically paid minimum wage, and, over time, the reliance on gratuities has become deeply ingrained in the culture of the service industry and is now expected by service providers.
Another reason why tipping is so common in Canada is that it allows customers to express their satisfaction with the service they received and to acknowledge the efforts put in by their servers, bar staff, taxi drivers, and more.
There’s also a cultural influence of tipping from other countries, particularly the neighbouring USA, where tipping is considered mandatory. This influence saw tipping become widespread throughout Canada, becoming part of the country’s cultural norms and social expectations.
When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?
As tipping is common practice in Canada, there are several instances in which you should consider leaving a tip, including:
Tipping Servers in Canada
In Canadian restaurants, it’s customary to tip your server unless a service charge has already been added to the bill. In this instance, you can pay the bill as it stands, or you can ask for the service charge to be removed and leave your server a monetary tip.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave a Server in Canada?
You should tip your restaurant server between 15% and 20% of the total bill before taxes. So, should you spend $100 CAD on your meal, a tip of $15-$20 CAD ($16-$22 AUD) would be expected.
Tipping Bar Staff in Canada
Similar to restaurants, it’s also common to tip staff working in bars in Canada. This isn’t limited to mixologists or fancy wine bars either, and even a local pub will expect you to leave a tip for their staff.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Bar Staff in Canada?
A tip of around 15%-20% is expected for bar staff, and if ordering drinks to a table, you should leave a tip for both the bartender and the server. So, if your bar bill comes to $40 CAD, a tip of $6-$8 ($6-$9 AUD) should be left for the bar staff and a few extra dollars left for the server.
Tipping in Coffee Shops in Canada
Tipping in coffee shops isn’t as common as it is in bars and restaurants in Canada, but it is always appreciated – especially if you’re ordering complicated drinks for large groups.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Coffee Shop Staff in Canada?
There’s no standard guide for tipping in coffee shops in Canada, and you can leave as much or as little as you see fit. You’ll often see a tip jar placed on the counter by the cash register, and the best way to tip is by leaving a few dollars in there.
Tipping Taxi Drivers in Canada
It’s becoming increasingly common to tip taxi drivers in Canada, especially if they have gotten you to your destination without hitting traffic or the car is clean and comfortable.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Taxi Drivers in Canada?
You’ll typically leave a tip of around 10% of the total fare for a taxi driver in Canada. So, if your fare comes to $20 CAD, a tip of $2 CAD ($2 AUD) would be expected. Or, if you prefer, you can round the total fare up to the nearest dollar.
Tipping Tour Guides in Canada
While it isn’t expected, tipping tour guides in Canada is always appreciated. This is especially true if you’ve been guided through popular tourist destinations and big cities with ease while learning about them at the same time.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave a Tour Guide in Canada?
Tipping around 10%-15% of the tour cost is a good guideline to follow for tour guides, although if the tour is private or personalised, you can go higher.
Tipping Hotel Staff in Canada
Tipping hotel staff in Canada is customary and should always be done for certain services, including bellhops and housekeeping.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Hotel Staff in Canada?
A tip of around $1-$2 CAD ($1-$2 AUD) for bellhops is considered acceptable, and for housekeeping, you should leave a few dollars aside each morning before your room is cleaned. Be sure to label the tip for housekeeping though. Otherwise, it may be assumed that it’s your money.
Canadian Tipping Practices: How to Give a Tip?
The way in which you give a tip in Canada will ultimately depend on the situation you’re in. For restaurants, it’s best to either leave a tip directly on the table or hand it to your server as you’re departing. In bars and pubs, you can leave a cash tip on the bar or add it to your card payment.
When tipping a taxi driver, you’ll have the option to add a tip through your phone if you’re using a ride share app, such as Uber. Or, if you prefer, you can also hand them a cash tip when you reach your destination.
Top Tip: Since tipping in Canada is usually always best done in cash, make sure you have plenty on your person by changing AUD to CAD at excellent rates here.
Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in Canada?
While tipping is common practice throughout Canada, there are a few instances in which you aren’t expected to leave a tip. The most common of these are fast food restaurants and takeout orders, where tipping culture isn’t part of the service and, therefore, isn’t expected.
You’re also not expected to leave a tip in retail stores or for any place where self-service is needed, such as using a self-service checkout or filling your car at a service station.
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