Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on Labour &
Employment, March 2009
On March 31, 2009, the general minimum wage in Ontario becomes
C$9.50 per hour. This is the sixth increase in the minimum wage
since 2004, and is reflected in the recent amendments to Regulation
285/01 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Further
increases to the general minimum wage are also scheduled to come
into force on March 31, 2010 (C$10.25 per hour). The Regulation
also increases the minimum wage rates for students, liquor servers,
homeworkers, and hunting/fishing guides to the rates described
What is Minimum Wage?
Minimum wage is the lowest rate an employer can pay an employee.
Most employees are eligible for minimum wage, whether they are
full-time, part-time, seasonal employees, or are paid at an hourly
rate, commission, flat rate or salary.
There are job-specific exemptions and special rules for certain
industries and job categories. For example, while the general
minimum wage rate applies to most employees, there are other
minimum wages that apply to:
students under 18 years of age, working not more than 28 hours
per week during the school year or working during a school holiday
(C$8.90 per hour);
employees who generally serve liquor directly to customers or
guests in licensed premises (C$8.25 per hour);
hunting and fishing guides (C$47.50 per day for working less
than five consecutive hours in a day; C$95.00 per day for working
five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are
homeworkers (i.e., employees who do paid work in their own
homes for an employer) (110% of the general minimum wage).
What happens when the Minimum Wage Changes?
If the minimum wage rate changes during a 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.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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