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HOW TO TIP IN CANADA

In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. In Canada, tipping is customary and expected in many service industries. The question `when?` or `how much?` can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies.

This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Canadian dollar?

When you travel to Canada, it is best to pay in local currency (CAD) instead of USD. We show you the top three benefits of paying with CAD. Find out how you can save money on your overseas trip and avoid unnecessary currency exchange fees.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

One of the primary areas where tipping is prevalent in Canada is the restaurant industry. The standard tipping rate for waiters is generally around 15-20% of the bill before tax is applied. This is a good baseline for satisfactory service. However, if the service was exceptional, you may consider tipping more.

When it comes to bars and cafes, tipping is also appreciated, but the percentages might be slightly lower. For example, leaving 15-18% of the bill as a tip is common when you receive table service at a bar. In cafés where you order at the counter and take your food or drink to a table, leaving a small amount in the tip jar is also a nice gesture.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

If you're staying in a hotel in Canada it's standard practise to tip between 10-20%. In top end hotels with high service levels you'll likely want to tip a range of staff, such as maids, bellboys, valets and front desk employees.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

A 10-15% tip is expected, plus $1 per luggage piece if they help you carry your stuff.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Yes, if you join a large group, consider offering the guide a 10 percent tip based on the total cost of the tour. If it is a private tour, increasing the tip amount to 15 percent is a way to show high appreciation if the service was top quality.

Remember that it is perfectly okay to reduce your tipping amount, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. Unlike in the U.S., waiters are paid a living wage, and the expectations for tipping are lower in Canada than in America. This is also true for hotel staff, though if you encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager.

When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.