Has gratuity become gratuitous? Should we end tipping in Canada?

Some say tipping really has more to do with the psychology of the person opening up their wallet and not the service at all. Have we reached a tipping point for tipping? 21TonGiant


A new study confirms that tipping has little to do with service and more to do with where you live, the colour of a server's hair, the use of smiley faces and the occasional touch. Today, our Project Money asks if it is time to eliminate tipping. We hear differing views on what that would do to the restaurant industry.

Ted Talk: Rethink Tipping by Bruce McAdams


According to a new survey done by mobile payment company Square, the nation's capital city is among the country's most generous tippers. After analyzing the tipping practices in five Canadian cities, Ottawa came out on top with both the highest tip average... and most tips given.

The survey says people in Ottawa tip more than 76 per cent of the time and the average tip is 15.6 per cent of the bill.

In a close second, Montreal tips 14.4 per cent... just over 70 per cent of the time.

Now, to find the worst tippers in the land, you'll have to journey west. Calgarians, they found, tip less than 60 per cent of the time and the average tip is just 13.3 per cent.

Regional disparities in tipping culture -- and the angst over when and how much to tip -- have driven some establishments to do away with tipping altogether. For American restaurateur Jay Porter, banning tipping in all of his restaurants was an easy decision.

"Would that be the system you would pick in a vacuum to compensate your team? I think the answer is no because it's a stupid system."

Restaurateur Jay Porter

Michael Lynn is a Professor in Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. A former waiter, he's spent his career studying tipping patterns... and published more than 50 papers on the topic. He was in Ithica, New York.

The servers who depend on tips to make a living know just how unreliable gratuity can be in Canada. So is there a better way... Have we reached a tipping point for tipping?

  • Jen Agg is the owner of the Toronto restaurant, The Black Hoof. And she's a defender of tipping.

Should tipping be abolished in Canada? What's your tipping philosophy? Let us know what you think.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Sujata Berry.

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