Some restaurant owners and managers take part in this: receiving a portion of the tips left by customers. This is, after all, a perfectly legal act in Ontario. A new bill, however, plans on making this illegal.
Introduced by Michael Prue from the New Democrat MPP, the bill makes amendments to the existing Employment Standards Act. In essence, it will ban owners and managers from taking a cut off waiters’ tips.
Currently, the act stipulates that servers could have 100% of their tips taken by their employer. Although the act regulates work hours and wages among other work conditions, it makes no mention of tips. If the bill is passed, the act will be amended to the effect that employers can no longer take any part of the tips.
According to Mr. Prue, “The bill is very simple. We are not opposed to what is called a bill sharing, but we are opposed to what is called a tip out. The manager expecting a portion of the tips is [a form] of blackmail.”
The bill is actually being introduced for a second time, after it died in the committee level.
Statistics Canada reports that an average couple spends around $1,850 on restaurants, with a 15% tipping rate. That means around $275 in annual gratuities—part of which goes to the restaurant owner.
According to Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey, she’s looking forward to the discussion of the issue. She said, “We care deeply about the workers and we want to make sure that employee rights are protected under the Employment Standards Act.”
An argument by the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association is that tips are matters that should be sorted out by employers and employees. There is nothing wrong with the existing model, which is efficient. After all, there’s little protest about it.
For restaurant owners in Ontario, do you think taking part of waiters’ tips should be made illegal? Are you willing to protect your right to part of the gratuities?