Tipping in Canada: A quick & easy guide

Every year, many people from around the world head to Canada in order to take in the sights, explore the history, and enjoy some adventure.

This is a destination that has something for everyone.

You can visit the stunning Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains, Gros Morne National Park, and the famous CN Tower.

Of course, one of the things you may be wondering is what the tipping etiquette is like in Canada.

Most people are keen to know what they should do when it comes to tipping in Canada.

If you’re one of them, read on.

Do You Tip in Canada?

Tipping is not mandatory in Canada. However, it is generally expected in service industries.

It is worth noting that, like many other countries, there is no mandatory tipping in Canada. However, you also need to keep in mind that those working in service industries are often on low pay.

Although tipping is not mandatory, it is generally expected. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to tip around 15-20% in Canada.

Tipping Customs to Keep in Mind

Pay your tip in Canadian dollars. Also, base your tip on the pre-tax amount of the bill.

There are a number of key points to keep in mind when it comes to tipping in Canada. This includes: 

  • Always make sure the service charge has not automatically been added to your bill
  • Pay the tip in Canadian dollars
  • Aim to pay between 15-20%

Base your tip on the total amount before tax

Useful Phrases to Know

You may need to brush up on some French for parts of Canada.

While English is the widely spoken language in Canada, you may be visiting places where French is widely spoken. This includes various parts of Quebec.

So, with this in mind, here are some useful phrases to help in these areas:

  • Check please: L’addition, s’il-vous-plaît
  • Where is the restroom? Où sont les toilettes?
  • How much is it? C’est combien?
  • Do you speak English? Parlez vous anglais?

Tipping Restaurants in Canada

tipping in canada

Restaurants in Canada do not tend to add an automatic service charge. You should leave 15-20% of the pre-tax bill amount. You can leave more if the service was exceptional.

There are many wonderful restaurants you can choose from across Canada, with budget, mid-range, and upmarket eateries.

When it comes to tipping at restaurants, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In general, you should aim to leave 15-20% of the pre-tax bill by way of a tip. Some people do leave a tip that is more than 20%. 

However, this is something that would be viewed as being very generous. It might be appropriate if the staff went above and beyond to make your experience a great one.

Some other points to keep in mind are:

  • You do not have to tip the sommelier (if applicable) separately. Just add your total tip to your payment at the end of your meal
  • Make sure the service charge has not been added to your bill already. This is not something that is commonly done in Canada but may already be added for larger groups
  • If you have left coats at coat check, leave one or two Canadian dollars per coat

Tipping Tour Guides in Canada

On a general tour, you should tip tour guides 10%. However, on private tours, you should aim for 15%.

When you visit Canada, you will find a huge variety of exciting tours you can do on. These experiences are made all the more memorable if you have a good tour guide.

You may be heading to one of the incredible national parks or natural attractions or perhaps you are embarking on a wine tour or one of the many other tour options available.

Tipping in Canada for tour guides varies based on what type of tour you go on.

For instance, some people join a large tour that has lots of other people on it. Others decide to book a private tour just for themselves and their own party.

So, here are some points to keep in mind: 

  • If you go as part of a large excursion with lots of other people outside your group, a 10% tip for the tour guide is reasonable
  • If you have booked a private tour for just yourself and your party, you should consider a tip of 15% for the tour guide
  • You may want to increase your tip further based on how informative the tour guide was and how long the tour was

Tipping in Hotels or Guesthouses in Canada

Tipping at hotels and guesthouses can vary based on the type of service being provided.

You can choose from an incredible array of hotels and guesthouses in Canada.

So, finding somewhere affordable and suitable to stay won’t be a problem. You will find everything from 5-star luxury hotels to budget guesthouses and motels.

When you stay at hotels and guesthouses, you may access a range of services.

This means that there are more points to keep in mind when it comes to tipping.

Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind:

  • If your doorman hails you a taxi, tip $2 
  • When the bellman takes up your bags, you should aim for between $2-$5 per bag
  • Your tip for the chambermaid can be given daily or at the end of the stay. You should tip $2-$5 per day
  • If you order room service, make sure a service charge has not been included already. If it hasn’t, you should consider a 15% tip 
  • For hotel/guesthouse staff members who deliver other items to your room upon request, tip $2-$5 
  • When you collect your car from the valet (if applicable), tip between $5-$10 
  • You are not expected to tip the concierge at the hotel, but you may do so if you feel they have been especially helpful 

Tipping Taxis, Shuttles and Coaches in Canada

You do not have to tip for ground transportation. However, it is polite to give taxi drivers and shuttle drivers a small tip.

You may find yourself using transportation services in Canada on a variety of occasions.

This includes getting shuttles to and from the airport, getting taxis to local attractions, or going on coaches for excursions.

The tipping etiquette for transportation can vary based on the type of transportation you use. It should also be based on the level of service you receive.

So, here are some tips: 

  • If you are using taxi services, you should aim to tip between 10-20% of the fare 
  • When using hotel shuttle services, there is no tip expected but you can tip a couple of dollars if you are happy with the service 
  • With coach excursions, you should look at tipping the driver around $5. If the driver is also the tour guide, you should follow the tour guide etiquette outlined above 

Tipping in Bars and Pubs in Canada

The amount to tip at bars and pubs depends on whether you are ordering drinks at the bar or getting a bill before you leave.

No matter what part of Canada you visit, there will be plenty of bars and pubs you can visit.

When it comes to tipping, this depends on how you are paying.

You may be buying drinks one at a time and paying as you go.

On the other hand, you may have set up a tab or you might be having food and drinks at the table.

Here are some points to keep in mind: 

  • If you set up a bar tab to pay in one go once you are ready to leave, aim to tip 15-20% of the total bill 
  • If you order and pay for drinks one at a time at the bar, leave the bartender $1-$2 per drink/round of drinks. Alternatively, you can tell them to keep the change 
  • If you go for a pub meal and drinks, tip 15-20% of the total bill pre-tax

Tipping Barbers, Spas and Hair Salons in Canada

In these places, the tip is generally 15-20%. You should also pay a small amount to the hair washer at the salon.

Another thing you may do while in Canada is head to the barbers, spa or hair salon. Here, you can enjoy a little grooming and pampering.

If you decide to do this, you should keep the following points in mind when it comes to tipping: 

  • For hairstylists, beauty professionals, masseurs, and other professionals, you should tip 15-20%
  • In salons, you may want to consider a $5-$10 tip for the hair washer