What’s the right amount to tip in Canada?

August 10, 2023

Here comes the bill. What’s a fair amount to tip?

The old rule of thumb used to be 15 per cent, but in many places, you are presented with the options of 20, 22 and even 25 per cent if you pay with a debit or credit card.

So, what’s the best path forward on tipping? Save with SPP took a look around to see what folks are saying on this topic.

According to Global News, tipping, like many other things, is being impacted by inflation.

“People feel like tipping is getting out of control,” Angus Reid’s David Korinski tells the broadcaster. Sixty-two per cent of Canadians surveyed by the pollster said “they’re being asked to tip more,” and “one in five reported leaving a tip of 20 per cent or more the last time they dined out,” the Global article reports.

Inflation, Korinski tells Global, is making the price of everything higher — which means you are tipping for meals and services that cost more than they used to.

“When you get the tipping machine, instead of 12, 15, and 18 per cent for the suggested tip, it now says 18, 24, and 30 per cent. I think for a lot of people, that it’s getting a little overwhelming,” Korinski tells Global.

Fifty-nine per cent of those surveyed said they’d like to see a “service included” model, where tips are not needed, but workers receive higher wages and benefits.

So how much should we tip?

According to the Wealth Awesome blog, “in days past, a 10 per cent to 15 per cent tip was considered average. Today, however, a 15 to 20 per cent tip is considered normal for most services.”

The blog recommends a tip of 25 per cent “or more” for “exceptional service,” 20 per cent for “great service,” a tip of “15 to 20 per cent for average service,” and a tip of “10 to 15 per cent for below average service.”

Over at the CBC, flaws are being noted in our nation’s “tipping culture.”

“Card payment machines have made it simple for businesses to prompt a gratuity option, even in industries where tipping previously wasn’t part of the cost or conversation. And data from Canadian trade associations show the average percentage tip for restaurant dining has gone up since the pandemic began,” the broadcaster notes.

The University of Guelph’s Professor Mike von Mossow tells CBC he is even asked to tip if he picks up a couple of cans of beer from a microbrewery.

He tells CBC this is a “double whammy” for consumers, “with more businesses asking for tips while simultaneously raising their prices.”

“You know, I’ve started to wonder if I give a particularly good lecture, should I put a jar at the front of the lecture hall at the end, and as they file out? Maybe they could drop a few bills in there for me, too. I mean, where does it stop,” he asks the CBC.

The Conversation raises questions about why we tip in the first place. Isn’t it for good service?

“This belief presumes that the server receives the tip,” the article explains. “But in most provinces, management often requires servers to share tips with kitchen staff, and sometimes with management itself,” the article continues.

Furthermore, the article explains, there could be tip-sharing (or tipout) at your favourite resto. “Your individual hard-working server may not have any appreciable benefit from your generous tip,” the article tells us.

And if we tip because we feel our server/service supplier is working hard for a low wage, what about everyone else who is working for minimum wage, the article asks.

Tipping, and how much you tip, is at the end of the day up to you.

Viewed through the lens of retirement saving, one might want to think about giving oneself a little tip now and then to boost our retirement savings. Even if you were to pay yourself first, to the order of five per cent per month, you’d see your retirement nest egg begin to grow.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan allows you to “tip up” your retirement account in several ways. SPP can be set up as a bill in your online banking, so that you can direct dollars there that way. You can make contributions on our website via your credit card. Or, you can fill out this form and have a pre-authorized contribution deducted regularly from your bank.

It’s a good tip that your future you will greatly appreciate. Check out SPP today!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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