tipping canada

Most Canadians want to ditch tipping and pay for higher service wages

Looks like Canadians have reached a tipping point for gratuities.

Inflation has affected not only grocery prices and housing costs but also tips.

A report published by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) last year found that "tip-flation" has been a big frustration for many Canadians.

Many people report being asked to tip more (62 per cent) and more often (64 per cent), and a lot of the time, they comply.

In terms of how much people are tipping, it seems the 15 per cent standard is no more. One in five diners left a tip of 20 per cent or more, more than double the rate (8 per cent) of those who said so in 2016.

In addition, the report found that Canadians frequently encounter "tip creep," where places that usually don't ask for tips have now added a gratuity to their payment machines.

ARI found that this tipping fatigue culminated in nearly 60 per cent of Canadians saying they would prefer a "service included" model, which would scrap gratuity in exchange for higher base wages for service workers.

It's a significant change from responses in 2016, where up to 46 per cent of Canadians favoured the current tip system.

tipping canada

Graph showing the results of Angus Reid Institute's tipping surveys in 2016 vs. 2023.

What's the reason for this?

According to the report, 78 per cent of Canadians believe tipping is no longer used to show appreciation for a job well done. Instead, many (73 per cent) think it's a way for employers to underpay their workers.

tipping canada

The survey asked respondents questions related to their feelings on tipping in Canada. Graph from Angus Reid Institute.

Discussions surrounding eliminating tips have been brought to the forefront amid inflation, and there is definitely a divide.

ARI found that preference for tipping is more common among Canadians who voted Conservative and Bloc Québécois in the 2021 federal election.

Whereas 73 per cent of Liberal voters and 76 per cent of NDP voters want to see an end to tipping culture, and higher wages for employees.

tipping canada

The results show most people would prefer to not have to tip, but for the base price of meals, etc. to include service. Graph from Angus Reid Institute.

Of course, this idea may sound good in theory, but it can be challenging to implement in practice.

In order to pay workers a living wage, establishments need to raise prices on their menus. Many have been met with pushback from customers when this happens.

One restaurant in Richmond, B.C. even faced blowback against an automatic 15 per cent gratuity.

The debate around tips never rests. What do you think about ending tipping culture? Have you ever been confronted over not tipping or tipping less? Are you a service worker in a job where tipping is commonplace? What's your take?

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