Ontario Minimum Wage Is Increasing October 1, 2020

Minimum wage Ontario increasing October 1, 2020Minimum wage is increasing across all provinces and territories across Canada starting October 1st, 2020. In Ontario, the general minimum wage will rise from $14.00 to $14.25 per hour, which marks our first minimum wage increase since January 2018. Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay an employee.

The upcoming increase is part of the government’s commitment to tie minimum wage to inflation, this year, being the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2020, which has been solidified in the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (the “Act”). Steady and predictable increases are meant to offer both employers and workers certainty and room for growth.

Minimum wage varies significantly across Canada. Ontario has the fourth highest minimum wage rate after Nunavut, Alberta, and British Columbia. As of October 1, 2020, Nunavut’s general minimum wage will be $16.00 per hour, and Saskatchewan will have the lowest at $11.45 per hour. This variance significantly affects workers’ quality of life and has also been subject to much political debate.

Who Will See an Increase in Pay?

In Ontario, in addition to the general minimum wage increase, students, servers, hunting and fishing guides, wilderness guides, and homeworkers will also see an increase to their minimum pay. The following chart compares minimum wage increases from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2021 regarding these abovementioned categories.

Minimum wage rate Description Rates from October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 Rates from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2020 Rates from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021
General minimum wage Applies to most employees. $11.60 hourly $14.00 hourly $14.25 hourly
Student minimum wage Students under age 18 who work 28 hours per week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or during summer holidays. $10.90 hourly $13.15 hourly $13.40 hourly
Liquor servers minimum wage Applies to most employees who serve liquor directly to customers, guests, members or patrons in licensed premises and who regularly receive tips or gratuities. $10.10 hourly $12.20 hourly $12.45 hourly
Hunting and fishing guides minimum wage Based on blocks of time instead of hourly. Receive a minimum for working less than five consecutive hours in a day and a different amount for working five or more hours in a day. $58.00 for less than 5 consecutive hours per day

$116 for five or more hours per day

$70.00 less than 5 consecutive hours per day

$140.00 for five or more hours per day

$71.30 less than 5 consecutive hours per day

$142.60 for five or more hours per day

Homeworkers wage Employees who do paid work in their homes (answering phone calls for a call centre, sewing clothes for a manufacturer, etc.) $12.80 hourly $15.40 hourly $15.70 hourly
Wilderness guides minimum wage A person who guides, teaches, or assists a person or people while engaged in activities in a wilderness environment (canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, etc.) N/A June 3, 2019 to September 30, 2020:

$70.00 less than 5 consecutive hours per day

$140.00 for five or more hours per day

$71.30 less than 5 consecutive hours per day

$142.60 for five or more hours per day

Other Considerations To Minimum Wage – Commission, Room and Board, and “Three Hour Rule”

Some employees’ wages are based on part or full commission. Their compensation must at least amount to the minimum wage the employee has worked hourly.

For example, if Sean worked 32 hours and was paid a commission of $200.00, the new minimum wage for Sean would be $14.25 hourly. Sean would be owed the difference between his commission pay ($200.00) and minimum wage ($456.00). His employer would owe him $256.00 before deductions.

Regarding room and board, the Ontario government has set out maximums that an employer can deem as paid wages, and the employee must have received meals and occupied the room. See more about how provision of room and board affects minimum wage.

For employees sent home after working less than three hours, a “three hour rule” has been created: if the employee regularly works more than three hours per day and the above applies, they must be paid whichever is highest:

  • Three hours at their regular rate of pay or
  • The amount they earned for the time worked and wages equal to the employee’s regular wage for the remainder of the three hours.

See more about employees sent home after working less than three hours: the “three hour rule”.

Monkhouse Law specializes in employment law. Are you in a situation where you need help navigating this area, or have you lost your job? It is important to get good legal advice. We offer free 30-minute phone consultations.

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