Listen, the French are into the concept of 'ennui', ok? Don't bring on the wrath of an existentially pissed-off and economically frustrated waitress or waiter because you've left a small tip. Tip 15-20% in restaurants, in bars it's a loonie ($1 CDN) per drink.
I didnt that tiping was compilsary in Canada as it isnt in Europe. On a couple of occasions i ve been asked by the person at the bar to give a tip. I found the whole thing really embarassing as it made me feel like if i was mean.
In Europe we do tip waiters when they bring food/drinks/whatever at out table but not when we buy our drink at the bar. Anyway that was worth mentioning to avoid you the same embarassment.
One annoying thing about travelling is that you never know what to tip (or if you even should!!!!). I remember a friend trying to tip a waitress in Costa Rica, he only succeeded in confusing her. Here, it's simple: look at your bill, check the amount for the tax and that's your tip. We're taxed about 15% and you should be tipping 15%
If it is custom to tip in between 15% - 20% in Montreal, why don't the French Canadians tip us accordingly here? I am a server and in the summer months continuously receive 10% or less from the tourists from Montreal.
In Quebec as a whole, you tip accordingly to the service you got. Don't automatically add 15% as people in the USA do. Older people tend to tip less. In bars, keep in mind you'll have very slow response from the waitresses if you don't tip them the first time you buy a drink. In restaurants, don't feel bad because you pay at the end so even you tip very little, you are leaving anyway...
Very bad service = No tip (yes, you shouldn't leave tips even if it makes you feel bad!)
Bad service = 5%
Good service = 10%
Very good service = 15%
Extraordinary service = 20%
This is how l tip but I am a local, born and raised in Quebec. I tend to avoid very touristy places like Old Montreal, rue Ste-Catherine, Crescent and St-Laurent south of avenue Mont-Royal because waiters tend to be pushy about tips even tho they give poorer services.