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Understanding the Minimum Wage Ontario Guidelines


Do you know what the minimum wage in Ontario is? The Employment Standards Act (ESA) outlines the current minimum wage rates that employers are required to comply with. Make sure you understand your responsibilities as an employer when it comes to paying employees a fair wage.

What is Minimum Wage?

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can legally pay an employee. Full-time, part-time, and casual employees are all eligible for minimum wage, whether they are paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate, or salary. The Employment Standards Act exempts several industries from the minimum wage requirements, including but not limited to federally-regulated industries, students doing a co-op, and others which can be found here.

What is the Minimum Wage in Ontario?

Ontario’s minimum wage was increased on January 1st, 2018. In addition to a general minimum wage, there is a different minimum wage for students, liquor servers, hunting and finishing guides, and homeworkers. Employers are responsible for paying employees the appropriate minimum wage rate.   The minimum wage rates for Ontario are:

  • General minimum wage: $14.00 per hour
  • Student minimum wage: $13.15 per hour
  • Liquor servers minimum wage: $12.20 per hour
  • Hunting and fishing guides minimum wage: $70.00 (rates for working less than five consecutive hours in a day) or $140.00 (rates for working five or more hours in a day, whether or not they are consecutive)
  • Homeworkers wage: $15.40 per hour


Ontario Minimum Wage Changes

There have been a number of changes regarding minimum wage in Ontario over the past few years. Former Premier Kathleen Wynne had plans to further increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour in 2019; however, the new Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, has repealed this additional increase to the minimum wage. Accordingly, the rate of $14.00 per hour will remain in place until September 30th, 2020. Starting on October 1, 2020 the minimum wage may increase annually.   If a minimum wage rate change comes into effect partway through an employee’s pay period, their pay period will be treated as two separate pay periods. The employee will be entitled to the appropriate minimum wage rate for each pay period. If you need help managing minimum wage payments for your employees, please contact our HR experts at 1 (833) 247-3652.