Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on Labour &
Employment, March 2010
On March 31, 2010, the general minimum wage in Ontario becomes
C$10.25 per hour. This is the seventh increase in the minimum wage
since 2004, and is reflected in amendments to Regulation 285/01 of
the Employment Standards Act, 2000. 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 wage rates in Ontario 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$9.60 per hour);
liquor servers (C$8.90 per hour);
hunting and fishing guides (C$51.25 per day for working less
than five consecutive hours in a day; C$102.50 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).
MINIMUM WAGE CALCULATION FOR EMPLOYEES ON COMMISSION
If an employee's pay is based completely or partly on
commission, they are entitled to receive at least the minimum wage
for each hour the employee has worked. Industry-specific and
job-specific exemptions and/or special rules may apply, however, to
certain salespeople who earn commission.
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.
OTHER PROVINCIAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES IN 2010
In addition to Ontario, several other provinces will be
increasing their general minimum wage rate in 2010 as follows:
New Brunswick: General minimum wage will increase to C$8.50 per
hour effective April 1, 2010, and to C$9 per hour effective
September 1, 2010.
Newfoundland: General minimum wage was increased to C$9.50 per
hour on January 1, 2010, and will increase again to C$10 per hour
effective July 1, 2010.
Nova Scotia: General minimum wage will increase to C$9.20 per
hour effective April 1, 2010, and to C$9.65 per hour effective
October 1, 2010.
Quebec: General minimum wage will increase to C$9.50 per hour
on May 1, 2010.
As with Ontario, while the general minimum wage rate applies to
most employees, there may be job-specific exemptions and/or special
rules or rates for certain industries and job categories in each of
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