Minimum Wage Increase in Ontario
Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash

As of October 1, 2021, minimum wage rates in Ontario increased. The increases are tied to the 2020 Ontario Consumer Price Index under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The general minimum wage for provincially regulated employees has increased by 10 cents – from $14.25 per hour to $14.35 per hour. The minimum wage rates for students, liquor servers, hunting and fishing guides, homeworkers, and wilderness guides have also increased. The Ministry of Labour has published a handy chart with a list of the minimum wage rates.

What about alternative pay arrangements (non-hourly, non-salaried, room and board)?

Employers should note that these rate increases also apply to employees who earn commission – these employees’ pay must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked. 

Employers who provide room and board also need to be aware of the effects that these rate increases may have on their businesses. More specifically, employers can treat the provision of room and board (meals) to employees as having been paid as wages if the employee has actually received meals and occupied the room. The Ministry of Labour has listed the set amounts that employers are deemed to have paid as wages to employees if they provide for room and/or board. Again, employers need to ensure that they are paying at least minimum wage. Pay in these circumstances will include the amounts for room and board. 

What if the wage rate increase came into effect in the middle of a pay period?

If this is the case, then the employee’s pay period should be considered as two separate pay periods, such that the employee will be entitled to at least the minimum wage rate applicable to each of these two periods. 

Other Considerations for Employers

These minimum wage rate increases, though seemingly low for employees, may introduce additional difficulties for employers already struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses. Employers should, if they have not already, consider the way in which the increases in wages will affect their businesses, in relation to the staffing, scheduling, and budgeting as a whole. Employers should also update their payroll systems as soon as possible to prevent non-compliance with the new rate. 

If you need help with navigating the minimum wage increase, get in touch for a consultation. 

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