In theory, tipping is not a requirement in Canada. But, in practice, many locals view it as a social expectation to add percentage gratuities in bars, restaurants and more. Below is a simple guide the Core staff put together to make sure you have at least a basic understanding of it.
Dining (with table service)
It’s usual to add a tip of 15 to 18 percent to your restaurant bill if the service was good. 15% is totally fine and calculate the tip before the tax, not after. In case the service was absolutely terrible (rude server, extremely slow service etc) then it is okay to tip 0~15%. Tipping is the act of paying for good service. Some restaurants will add an automatic gratuity to your bill, especially if you are in a large group – check to ensure this hasn’t already been added so that you don’t tip twice!
Cafés / Coffee Shops
They are slightly different: if you order from the counter you might want to drop your change in the jar, however it is not mandatory. Their card machines may display tip options. You can choose an amount or push the ‘skip’ button or the ‘other amount’ button to leave 0 to $1 etc. Again, not mandatory.
Table service is common in Canadian pubs and bars and you’ll usually run up a tab rather than paying after every drink – tipping rates of 15 to 18 percent on top of the total bill are standard. Alternatively, if you’re ordering and paying for your drinks individually at the bar, a gratuity of $1 ~ $2 per drink is normal.
Taxis and Airport Shuttles
It is usual to tip your taxi driver at a rate of 10 to 15 percent of the total bill. But it’s not common to tip short distance airport shuttle bus drivers.
The Core Camp Airport Shuttle (Whistler Connection): Tipping your driver is not mandatory, but very appreciated at the end of the trip if they have helped with your heavy luggage to the front door. When I (Turner) personally use the Whistler Connection shuttle to or from the airport, I typically tip the driver $10.
Core Camp Coach
I often get asked if tipping your Core Camp coach is customary. While it is not expected, it is always very appreciated.
When you’re paying, many of the card machines will display 3 options for you to choose a tip amount. Some restaurants’ 3 tip percentage choices will be 15, 18, 20 percent. This is normal. Choose what you feel. 15% is totally fine. Some bars and restaurants payment machine choices will only display 20, 25, 30 percent. This is very cheeky and not cool. It should start at 15 percent. In this case, look for the button at the bottom of the display which reads ‘other amount‘. Use this button to put in your desired amount of approx 15%. A 25% to 30% tip? Pfff… no way. ‘Tell him he’s dreamin’
DO NOT tip at fast food places (Mcdonalds, KFC, Dominos etc). Not at retail stores. not at ski / snowboard tune up shops, souvenir shops etc. Some of these types of places in town are starting to add optional tip amounts on their payment machines (wow). It’s not necessary to tip at these places.
DO ask Core staff or American/Canadian Core campers about tipping in Whistler if you’re unsure. We’re all happy to help.
I (Turner) was in the serving industry in Whistler for a while. The above advice and amounts are fairly accurate guidelines.