With Canada’s economy experiencing record levels of inflation, the government of Ontario moved to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15.50 on October 1st, 2022.
The law is straightforward and simple for most businesses and employees. However, there are a few exceptions and special cases that are worth noting.
If you’re an employee or a small business owner in Ontario, you’re in the right place.
Below, I’ll explain everything you need to know about Ontario’s minimum wage increase, so you can ensure that you’re getting paid what you’re owed.
Between 2020 and 2022, Ontario increased the provincial minimum wage on four separate occasions.
This makes Ontario fairly progressive, compared to many of its neighbors, which didn’t increase provincial minimum wage until the latter half of 2022.
Currently, the minimum wage in Ontario is $15.50 per hour. Here’s a brief history of Ontario’s recent minimum wage increases:
|Date Enacted||Minimum Wage|
|January 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020||$14 per hour|
|October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021||$14.25 per hour|
|October 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021||$14.50 per hour|
|January 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022||$15 per hour|
|October 1, 2022 – present||$15.50 per hour|
This slow, gradual change made it easier for businesses to adapt to the rapidly-changing economic model, compared to other provinces (such as Alberta) that dramatically increased minimum wage overnight.
When the minimum wage increases rapidly, small business owners often pay the price and aren’t able to adjust their prices quickly enough, resulting in lost revenue.
In many cases, businesses have to lay off some of their employees to keep up with wages and taxes.
Ontario’s more gradual approach to minimum wage increase gave business owners more time to prepare and gradually adjust prices to reflect the additional wages that they needed to pay their employees.
With over 2.79 million residents and more than 86,000 small businesses, Toronto is the biggest city in Ontario and is the business centre of the entire country of Canada. It’s also home to some of Canada’s most prominent billionaires.
Since Toronto is the capital of Ontario, the same $15.50 minimum wage law that applies to the rest of the province also applies to workers and businesses in Toronto.
That being said, workers in Toronto often earn far more than the minimum wage due to the increased cost of living in the city. According to Talent, the average wage in Toronto is $19 per hour.
Ontario’s minimum wage laws are relatively straightforward. The majority of hourly (and non-hourly) workers must be paid at least $15.50 per hour, regardless of the industry they’re working in or what type of work they do.
However, there are a few exceptions and special rules that are worth nothing, regarding:
- Tip-earners & commission-based workers
- Outdoor guides
Let’s take a closer look at Ontario’s minimum wage laws.
Students under the age of 18 are generally less experienced than their adult counterparts.
They also have fewer living expenses, as many are still living at home with their families. With this in mind, many provinces have a separate, lower minimum wage for students.
The minimum wage in Ontario for students (under 18) is $14.60 per hour.
The student minimum wage in Ontario was increased to $14.60 per hour on October 1, 2022 from the previous amount of $14.10 per hour. As Ontario’s overall minimum wage increased over the years, student minimum wage also increased at the same rate.
Tip-earners, employees who are paid piecework-style, or who earn commission often earn far more than minimum wage. When I worked as a part-time server during my university days, I often earned anywhere from $25 to $35 per hour (after tips) during a busy dinner shift.
However, I also remember the slow days, when the restaurant was empty and I couldn’t rely on tips. Thankfully, Ontario’s minimum wage laws ensured that I could at least rely on a basic hourly wage.
If a tip-earner or commission-based worker doesn’t earn the minimum wage in tips/commissions for the hours that they work, then their employer must add to their pay.
Let’s say that you’re entitled to a $500 paycheck (based on working a 32.5-hour week at minimum wage) and you’ve only earned $400 in commissions for the week. In this scenario, your boss would have to step in and pay you an extra $100 to ensure that you made at least minimum wage for the time period that you worked.
Ontario has some beautiful natural resources, and tourists often travel to the province for hunting, fishing, or hiking. As such, the province wants to ensure that its outdoor guides are well paid.
Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides in Ontario must be paid at least $77.60 for working five consecutive hours or less in a day. For example, if you have a slow day and only work for two hours, you’re still entitled to the full amount of $77.60.
Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides who work more than five consecutive hours in a day are entitled to at least $155.25. This applies whether you’re working eight consecutive hours or as few as 6.
Similar to other provinces, all workers in Ontario are entitled to at least three hours worth of pay, even if they’re sent home early on a slow day.
This ensures that the worker’s transportation costs to get to work are covered. This rule does not apply to online or remote workers.
If Ontario follows its current trend of voting to increase wages every year in October, then there may be an increase to the minimum age in October 2023.
Nothing is solidified or set in stone yet, though, so I suggest keeping up with local Ontario news to stay on top of any policy changes.
Tired of just staying afloat with minimum wage? Are you ready to start putting some extra cash in your wallet?
If so, then keep on reading to see my list of the best apps that pay you to drive next!