The Government of Ontario announced plans to raise minimum wage in response to increased costs of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They propose to increase the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2022. If passed, a full-time worker making the general minimum wage could see an annual earnings increase of $1,350 in 2022. The implications of this general minimum wage hike could be widespread. From January to August 2021, the StatsCan Labour Force Survey found that there were 763,500 workers at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 in Ontario. Moreover, the survey found that most minimum wage earners are women and that nearly 73% of working 15 to 19-year-olds are at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 per hour. Industries employing the most minimum wage earners are accommodation and food services, and retail trade.
They also propose to eliminate the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers. The minimum wage for liquor servers is currently set at $12.55 per hour, which is below the general minimum wage because of the belief that customer tips could make up the difference.
They would also increase the minimum wage for students under the age of 18. Currently, students under the age of majority who work 28 hours per week or less during the school year, or work during a school break or summer holiday, can earn as little as $13.50 per hour. An increase to $14.10 per hour is proposed for them.
The minimum wage for homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) is proposed to increase from $15.80 per hour to $16.50 per hour.
Finally, the legislation proposes to increase the minimum rate for hunting and fishing guides. Currently, these guides have a minimum rate of $71.75 if they work less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $143.55 if they work five or more hours in a day. They propose to increase those rates to $75.00 and $150.05, respectively.
We will keep you informed on the status of this proposed legislation.