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FinanceNovember 4, 2021by Kelvin Lee

Ontario’s Proposed Minimum Wage Increase: Here’s All You Need to Know

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Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government announced on November 2, 2021, that it plans to introduce a bill that would increase the general minimum wage in the province from $14.35 to $15.00 per hour from January 1, 2022.

What other changes have been proposed?

The bill would propose that the special minimum wage for liquor servers be abolished, and they receive the general minimum wage. At present the minimum wage for liquor servers is $12.55 per hour. It would see a 19.5 per cent increase if the legislation is passed and they become entitled to the $15.00 per hour general minimum wage.

Are other special minimum wage rates also proposed to increase?

Yes. The proposed legislation intends to increase the minimum wage rates for:

Students: Those under 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during school break or summer holidays would see their minimum wage go up from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.

Homeworkers: (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) The special minimum wage for this section of workers would go up from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.

Hunting and fishing guides: Currently, hunting and fishing guides are entitled to a minimum wage of $71.75 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $143.55 for working five or more hours per day. The legislation proposes that it be hiked to $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.

What is minimum wage?

Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can legally pay their staff. The employer is free to offer greater compensation if they’d like, but they cannot pay less than the minimum wage set down in their jurisdiction’s Employment Standards Act (ESA).

All employees – full-time, part-time, casual, those paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate or salary – are eligible for minimum wage. If an employee’s pay is based entirely or partly on commission, it must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked.

Some industries, however, are exempted from the minimum wage provisions of the ESA.

Background on Ontario’s minimum wage increases

The minimum wage rates in Ontario increase on October 1 every year. The new rates that apply from October 1 are announced on or before April 1 of every year.

The Ontario minimum wage increased from $14.25 per hour to $14.35 per hour on October 1, 2021. This change is expected to stay in effect till September 30, 2022, unless the proposed legislation is passed by the legislative assembly and receives royal assent before this date.

When the minimum wage rate changes partway through a worker’s pay period, their pay period will be treated as two separate pay periods. The worker will be entitled to at least the minimum wage that applies in each of those periods.

Do you have questions related to employee pay?

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