“Do You Tip in Canada Restaurants? Absolutely, Eh! But Should You Add a Sprinkle of Maple Syrup as Well?”

By John Goldsmith •  Updated: 11/03/23 •  4 min read

Do You Tip in Canada Restaurants? Absolutely, Eh! But Should You Add a Sprinkle of Maple Syrup as Well?

Tipping etiquette varies across different countries and cultures. In Canada, tipping is an integral part of the restaurant culture, with servers relying on tips to supplement their income. While the customary tipping percentage may differ from country to country, Canadians are known for their generosity when it comes to tipping. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of tipping in Canada and explore some interesting facts and practices.

Tipping Culture in Canada

When dining at Canadian restaurants, it is expected that you leave a tip for your server. The general rule of thumb is to tip around 15-20% of the total bill before taxes. However, it’s important to note that this percentage can fluctuate depending on various factors such as service quality, establishment type, and personal beliefs.

Importance of Tipping in Canada

Tipping holds great significance for restaurant staff in Canada. Servers often rely on these tips as a substantial portion of their income. In fact, the base wage for servers in most Canadian provinces is lower than the standard minimum wage due to an expectation that they will earn additional income through tips. Tipping not only helps supplement their wages but also acts as an incentive for providing exceptional service.

Factors Affecting Tip Amounts

Several factors can influence how much Canadians tip at a restaurant. One major factor is the quality of service provided by the server. If a server goes above and beyond expectations or provides exceptional customer service, customers are more likely to leave a higher tip.

The type of establishment also plays a role in determining tipping percentages. For example, fine dining establishments often have higher expectations when it comes to service quality and therefore tend to receive larger tips compared to casual dining restaurants.

Personal beliefs also come into play when deciding on tip amounts. Some individuals may have specific criteria or standards that determine their tipping habits, which can vary from person to person.

Common Tipping Practices in Different Provinces/Territories

While tipping culture is fairly consistent across Canada, there may be slight regional differences in customs. In some provinces or territories, such as Quebec, a service charge is automatically included in the bill. This practice may affect the customary percentage that Canadians leave as tips.

Additionally, some provinces may have higher or lower tipping percentages depending on local norms and cost of living. It’s always a good idea to be aware of these differences when dining out in different parts of Canada.

Etiquette Tips for Tipping in Canada

When it comes to proper tipping etiquette in Canada, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s customary to leave the tip on the table rather than handing it directly to the server. This allows them to discreetly collect the tip without drawing attention.

If you receive unsatisfactory service, it is still generally expected that you leave a small tip. However, you may choose to adjust the percentage accordingly as a way of providing feedback on your experience.

Handling Tipping Dilemmas: Special Situations

Special situations can sometimes cause confusion when it comes to tipping. For example, when dining with a large group, it’s important to check if gratuity has already been included in the bill. If not, consider leaving a larger tip since serving large groups requires extra effort and attention.

When ordering take-out or getting food delivered, tipping is not mandatory but appreciated if you received good service. Generally, customers tend to round up their total bill or leave a small percentage as a token of appreciation.


Tipping culture is an important aspect of Canadian restaurants and greatly impacts servers’ income. Providing fair wages and incentivizing good service are just some of the reasons why Canadians take tipping seriously. So next time you dine at a restaurant in Canada, don’t forget to leave a tip, and maybe even add a sprinkle of maple syrup for good measure!

John Goldsmith