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Ontario Gets a New Minimum Wage on October 1

Practice Areas: Employment Standards

On October 1, 2022 the lowest allowable hourly rate for most employees in Ontario will increase from $15.00 to $15.50.

That’s the headline.  Here are some of the details:

Ontario’s minimum standards for most provincially-regulated workers are legislated by the Employment Standards Act, 2000.  In 2017, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, 2017 was enacted, amending the minimum wage provisions and increasing minimum wage amounts for the two subsequent years.  As of October 1, 2019, the minimum wages have been adjusted annually by formula base don changes to the Consumer Price Index.

The minimum wage will remain at $15.50 until September 30, 2023, when it will once again be adjusted.

The minimum wage has only a few exceptions, and applies equally to full-time, part-time, casual employees, employees who earn commission, employees who work on a piece rate, flat rate, or salary.

There is a Student minimum wage that applies to students under the age of 18 who work a maximum of 28 hours weekly when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays.  The Student minimum wage is increasing to $14.60.

The Homeworkers wage, applicable to employees who do their paid work in their own homes (for example, an employee who writes programming code for their employer using their own computer equipment; or an employee working in a call centre remotely.)  Historically, the Homeworkers minimum wage was calculated as 110% of the general minimum wage to account for extra costs in performing the work, like electricity.  Currently, the Homeworkers minimum wage is expressed as a dollar value, which is increasing from $16.50 to $17.05.

Uniquely, the minimum wage for hunting and fishing guides, or wilderness guides, is not expressed as an hourly figure.  Rather, it is a daily rate depending on the number of hours and worked and whether the hours are consecutive.  The rate for workers working less than five consecutive hours is increasing from $75.00 to $77.60, and the rate for workers working more than five hours in a day, whether or not consecutive, is increasing from $150.05 to $155.25.

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 also contains something of an off-set for employers who provide room and board to their employees.  An employer is deemed to have paid a prescribed amount which will be taken into account when calculating whether an employee has received their minimum wage.  An employee who receives a private room is deemed to have been paid $31.70 weekly, while a non-private room is $15.85.  Deemed wages are calculated at $2.55 per meal, to a weekly maximum of $53.55.  But an employee who gets both room and board is deemed to have been paid $85.25 with a private room, and $69.40 for a non-private room.  Note that domestic workers in a non-private room are not deemed to have received wages on account of the room, so their weekly maximum deemed wages paid is capped at $53.55.

Finally, employers should remember that the Employment Standards Act, 2000 contains a “three-hour rule” by which an employee who regularly works more than three hours per work day attends at work for a shift of at least 3 hours, and in fact works less than three hours.  That employee must be paid the greater of: three hours at their regular rate of pay, or the amount the employee earned for the time worked plus wages equal to the employee’s regular wage for the remainder of the three hours.

Employers should be aware of the changes to legislation to ensure that they are compliant with Ontario’s minimum standards for pay to their employees.  Businesses whose workers are compensated greater than minimum wage should nonetheless stay familiar with minimum wage increases in part to ensure that they remain competitive in the market.

Finally, any employer with questions about how to calculate earnings and in particular whether they are compliant with the minimum wage when taking into account things like overtime, commissions, piece work, etc., can contact the Lawyers for Employers at CCPartners for guidance.

Click HERE to access CCPartners' “Lawyers for Employers”  podcasts on important workplace issues and developments in labour and employment law or reach out to any of our lawyers for assistance today!



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