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Normal business administration can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of a pandemic, but employers need to be aware that legislated increases to minimum wage under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) will continue as scheduled.

For Ontario employers this means an increase in the general minimum wage from $14.00 to $14.25 as of October 1, 2020.

What is Minimum Wage?

Minimum wage is defined as the lowest wage rate an employer may pay an employee. Most employees are eligible for minimum wage, whether they are full-time, part-time, casual employees, or are paid an hourly rate, commission, piece rate, flat rate or salary.

If an employee’s pay is based completely or partly on commission, their pay must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked.

Minimum wage rates may vary depending on the type of work being performed. Below is a table of minimum wage rates under the ESA which will be implemented on October 1, 2020.

Minimum wage rate

Rates from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021

General minimum wage

$14.25 per hour

Student minimum wage

$13.40 per hour

Liquor servers minimum wage

$12.45 per hour

Hunting and fishing guides minimum wage

Rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day

Rate for working five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are consecutive

Homeworkers wage

$15.70 per hour

Wilderness guides minimum wage

Rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day

Rate for working five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are consecutive

If a change to the minimum wage rate comes into effect partway through an employee’s pay period, the pay period will be treated as if it were two separate pay periods and the employee will be entitled to at least the minimum wage that applies in each of those periods. 

Who Does Minimum Wage Apply To?

Minimum wage rules in Ontario apply to employees who are employed in positions covered by the ESA. As such, individuals that are correctly categorized as independent contractors are exempt from the minimum wage provisions of the ESA.

Further, certain employees have jobs that are exempt from the minimum wage provisions of the ESA because of the type of work or industry involved. Those jobs are listed below.

Industries and jobs not covered under the ESA

  • Secondary school students working in co-operative programs authorized by their school board;
  • People participating in the Community Participation program as part of the Ontario Works program;
  • Police officers (with the exception of lie detector sections in Part XVI of the ESA);
  • Inmates taking part in work or rehabilitation programs;
  • Young offenders who perform work as part of a sentence or court order;
  • Politicians, judges, religious officials or elected trade union officials;
  • Post-secondary students working in co-operative or work experience programs approved by their college or university; or
  • Employees whose jobs are regulated by federal employment laws and standards, such as:
    • airlines;
    • banks;
    • the federal civil service;
    • post offices;
    • radio and television stations;
    • inter-provincial railways; and
    • inter-provincial trucking.

Please contact one of the CCP team members if you require more specific information about the application of minimum wage to your working staff or assistance navigating wage issues.

Click HERE for a link to CCP’s COVID-19 Blog series, catch our webinars and podcasts on YouTube and SoundCloud, or wherever you listen to podcasts, or contact any of our team members to answer you workplace questions.




Crawford Chondon & Partners LLP is committed to providing an inclusive workplace that embraces and respects differences.  We support and promote the ongoing development, implementation and maintenance of best practices and strategies to enhance and improve equality, diversity and inclusion within the Firm, in advising clients and in the greater community. Click to learn more about our Diversity and Inclusion 

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