Ontario is by far the biggest province in Canada in terms of both population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Like the other provinces, Ontario has a minimum wage rate to ensure that employees earn a “fair” pay for their effort.
This post covers the minimum wage in Ontario, some exceptions and special rates, the historical rates, planned increases for 2023 and more.
Ontario Minimum Wage 2023-2024
The general minimum wage in Ontario is currently $15.50 per hour. The rate became effective on October 1, 20223 and will be in effect till September 30, 2023. It was an increase of 50 cents from the previous minimum wage rate of $15.00 that became effective January 1, 2022.
However, there are some exceptions and specialized cases that have different minimum wage rates.
The table below provides a summary of the current and upcoming minimum wage rates in Ontario, and more details are provided in the next section.
|Employee Category||Current Rates||Rates Effective October 31, 2023 to September 30, 2024|
|General Minimum Wage||$15.50 per hour||$16.55 per hour|
|Student Minimum Wage||$14.10 per hour||$15.60 per hour|
|Homeworkers Wage Rates||$16.50 per hour||$18.20 per hour|
|Hunting & Fishing Guides Min. Wage||Less than 5 hours: $75|
5 or more hours: $150.05
|Less than 5 hours: |
5 or more hours:
|Wilderness guides min. wage||Less than 5 hours: $75|
5 or more hours: $150.05
|Less than 5 hours: |
5 or more hours:
Specialized Minimum Wage Rates in Ontario
The $15.50 per hour rate is the general wage rate. But some workers can earn more than the standard rate, while others earn less.
Liquor Servers Minimum Wage
Liquor servers used to have a lower minimum wage than the general wage rate. This is due to the peculiar nature of their job and the expectation that they’ll receive tips and gratuities as part of their pay.
However, this was eliminated effective January 1, 2022 and they can now earn the same general minimum wage.
Student Minimum Wage
Students younger than 18 years, the age of majority in Ontario, and working less than 28 hours per week have a minimum wage rate of $14.60 – 90 cents lower than the general wage rate.
This applies whether they’re working during a school break, summer holidays or while the school is in session.
The previous student minimum wage rate in Ontario was $14.10 before the current rate became effective.
Homeworkers Wage Rates
An homeworker is any employee that gets paid to work from their own house. The minimum wage for these class of workers in Ontario is $17.05 per hour – $1.55 higher pay than the general minimum wage.
The higher rate makes sense since they’ll be using their own equipment and tools to perform their work. An example of employees in this category are call centre reps or software developers.
Also, the same higher rate applies to students even if they are below age 18. As long as they’re classified as homeworkers, the $17.50 applies to them and not the lower rate of $14.60 above.
Hunting and Fishing Guides Minimum Wage
These set of workers are not compensated by an hourly rate. Rather, their pay is based on blocks of time. They’re paid a minimum wage of $77.60 for working less than 5 hours – consecutive or not.
An higher rate of $155.25 is paid when they work for more than 5 hours in a day. If you do the math, hunting and fishing guides can earn more than the general minimum wage depending on the number of hours they actually work.
For example: Imagine someone that worked just 3 hours in a day and got paid $77.60. The hourly rate would work out to $25.8 per hour.
Wilderness guides minimum wage
Finally, we have Wilderness Guides. Their minimum wage rate is the same as the rates for hunting and fishing guides and it works the same way.
Working less than 5 hours will net them $77.60 and $155.25 for 5 hours and above.
They are employed to teach, assist and guide people that are engaged in various activities that happens in a wilderness environment.
Some of these includes hiking, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, dogsledding, horseback riding and so on.
Note: a student below 18 years who works less than 28 hours per week as a wilderness guide will not be entitled to the same rate.
Exceptions to the Minimum Wage in Ontario
Like the specialized cases above, there are other exceptions to the general minimum wage rates in Ontario. Here are 3 to know about:
Commission-based workers must be paid an amount that equals the minimum wage for the hours they actually worked. If their total commission is lower than the minimum wage for the pay period, the employer will have to pay extra.
Here’s an illustration to help you better understand the minimum wage calculation for employees earning commissions in Ontario.
Jason and Sam both work on commissions for 35 hours per week. They’re paid weekly and for the current period, Jason made $750 in total commissions while Sam only managed to make $250.
Per Ontario minimum wage rates and rules, the minimum wage they can both earn for a week is $525 ($15 * 35 hours).
That means Jason can keep his total commissions of $750. However, their employer will have to pay Sam an extra $275 to bring his pay to the weekly minimum wage.
In summary, Sam still gets $525 even though his total commissions for the week is much lower. But Jason will not get an extra pay.
There are other industry-specific rules, and you can read all about them here.
This rule was introduced as part of Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.
It addresses the situation where an employee that usually works more than 3 hours is sent home without working up to 3 hours. In this case, the rule says that they must be paid for a minimum of 3 hours at their regular rate.
Here’s an illustration: An employee that earns $15 per hour was required to come to work but only got to work for just 1 hour. He would have to be paid his regular rate for an hour and also receive pay for 2 extra hours for a total pay of $45.
The rule is not applicable to employees that work a regular shift that’s less than 3 hours or when the situation is beyond the employer’s control.
Room and Board
Employees may be paid a lower minimum wage if they receive room and board from their employer. An employer that provides housing and meals to its employees is deemed to have paid some wage if the employer actually occupied the room and received the meals.
The deemed amount that is prescribed by Ontario is shown below:
- Room: It is charged at $31.70 per week for private rooms and $15.85 for non-private rooms. For domestic workers with a non-private room arrangement, the rate is $0.
- Meals: Each meal costs $2.25 up to a weekly maximum of $53.55.
- Rooms and meals (weekly): Combining room and board is charged at $85.25 for private room arrangements or $69.40 for non-private rooms.
- Harvest Workers housing (weekly): a rate of $99.35 for service housing and $73.30 for unserviced housing.
Ontario Minimum Wage History
Wondering how the Ontario minimum wage rates have changed over the years? The chart below shows the historical minimum wage rates starting in the 21st century (2000 to date).
|Date of Increase||Minimum Wage Rate|
|October 1, 2022||$15.50|
|January 1, 2022||$15.00|
|October 1, 2021||$14.35|
|October 1, 2020||$14.25|
|January 1, 2018||$14.00|
|October 1, 2017||$11.60|
|October 1, 2016||$11.40|
|October 1, 2015||$11.25|
|June 1, 2014||$11.00|
|March 1, 2010||$10.25|
|March 1, 2009||$9.50|
|March 1, 2008||$8.75|
|February 1, 2007||$8.00|
|February 1, 2006||$7.75|
|February 1, 2005||$7.45|
|February 1, 2004||$7.15|
You can check the historical minimum wage rates in Ontario all the way back to 1965 and for other Canadian provinces in this archive.
Ontario’s Minimum Wage Legislation
The current minimum wage legislation in Ontario is largely governed by Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.
From the chart above showing the minimum wage history in Ontario, you would notice that there were years with no increases.
However with the changes introduced by Bill 47, there will be increases in October of every year starting in 2020.
Going forward, the Ontario minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation using the previous year’s Consumer Price Index and the increase announced on or before April 1.
Minimum Wage Yearly Salary In Ontario
So how much does minimum wage make a year Ontario? Someone earning minimum wage in Ontario and working 37.5 hours per week will earn a gross annual salary of $29,250 at a rate of $15.00 per hour.
This assumes the employee works 7.5 hours daily and gets paid vacation.
The table below summarizes the gross pay and net pay for minimum wage earners in Ontario for the 3 common pay frequencies: Weekly, bi-weekly (26 pay periods) and semi-monthly (24 pay periods).
The annual salary information is also included.
|Pay Freq.||# of Periods||Gross Pay||Net Pay||Total Deduction|
If you work a different number of hours per week or want to change any of the variables above, you can use the CRA’s Online Payroll Deductions Calculator here.
Minimum wage earners in Ontario fall in the first tax bracket for both the provincial and federal tax returns. The Ontario tax rate is 5.05% on the first $45,142 and 15% on the first $49,020 at the federal level.
But the tax liability is reduced by the basic personal amount ($13,808 for federal and $10,880 for Ontario).
The basic personal amount ensures that those earning below those amounts will not have to pay any tax, while those earning above will see a partial reduction.
Any other tax credits and deductions that the tax-payer is eligible for will also reduce the tax liability further.
A few of these include: Child-care expenses, RRSP deduction, age amount, Tuition credits, Medical expenses and many more.
Increasing Your Pay
If you currently earn minimum wage in Ontario and want to increase your income, this section contains a few tips that can help you make more money and increase your earnings potential.
- Ask for a raise: This is a quick win and doesn’t require too much effort from your end. Remember that the minimum wage rate is just a guide. If you believe the value you bring to your employer is more than the pay you’re getting, have an honest conversation about getting a pay raise.
- Learn a new skill: Picking up new skills will both increase your value to your current employer and open up more opportunities for you. You can turn the new skill into a lucrative side gig that could in more money than what you earn from your job.
- Get educated: Go back to school or get a certification that can increase your earnings potential. Unlike the previous tips, this will require more effort and may even mean not working for some time. But it’ll have a bigger impact on your future earnings and your time and cost investment will pay off in a big way.
- Make extra money: There are several options for making extra money. It can be as simple as making deliveries or driving for one of the ride-hailing companies. Have an extra space in your home? Rent it out or get a roommate for some extra cash. Good with arts and crafts, Etsy makes it simple to start earning from these.
- 18 Ways to Make Money Online
- 25 Profitable Ways to Make Money From Home
- 21 Best Ways to Make Money Fast
Minimum Wage in Canada (Ontario vs Others)
So how does the Ontario minimum wage compare to the ones at the other provinces and territories? The table below shows the current general minimum wage rates across all Canadian provinces and territories.
|Province/Territory||Minimum Wage Per Hour|
|Prince Edward Island||$14.50|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$14.50|
But note that the comparison isn’t that straightforward. Someone earning the $13 minimum wage for Saskatchewan for example, is not necessarily worse off than another person earning $15.50 in Ontario.
Why? Firstly, the cost of living varies across the provinces. And to some extent, the minimum wage rates reflect the level of economic activities in each province.
But in most instances, these rates are below the living wage in the province. According to Ontario Living Wage,
“A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community.”
And as shown in the table here, the current legislated minimum wage is no where close to covering the basic expenses of Ontario residents — especially for those living in the Toronto area.
Minimum Wage in Ontario Increase 2023
The general minimum wage will increased by $1.05 effective October 31, 2023. This will bring the minimum wage in Ontario to $16.55 for the general
The October increases are to adjust for inflation so the changes are usually minimal. The table below shows the forthcoming increases on October 31, 2022 to illustrate the type of increases you can expect.
|Employee Category||Rates Effective October 31, 2023|
|General Minimum Wage||$16.55 per hour|
|Student Minimum Wage||$15.60 per hour|
|Homeworkers Wage Rates||$18.20 per hour|
|Hunting & Fishing Guides Min. Wage||Less than 5 hours: |
5 or more hours:
|Wilderness guides min. wage||Less than 5 hours: |
5 or more hours:
These increases are benchmarked against the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2021 as laid down in the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.
Going forward, the minimum wage will now increase annually in line with the consumer price index (a measure of inflation) for the previous year.
FAQs: Ontario Minimum Wage Annually
Does the minimum wage apply to all employees in Ontario?
While the general minimum wage rate applies to most employees in Ontario, employees in certain industries have exemptions and special rules that govern how much they can make per hour. Check this page to check the job categories and industries not covered.
Will the Ontario minimum wage increase in 2023?
Yes. The Ontario minimum wage will increase from $15.50 to $16.55 effective October 1, 2023. In addition, the minimum wage rate will increase for both the general and specialized minimum wage rates later in the year due to inflation.
What is the minimum wage for students in Ontario?
Students in Ontario that are aged 18 or below and work less than 28 hours per week have a minimum wage rate of $14.60 per hour.
What is liquor server’s minimum wage in Ontario?
The minimum wage for Servers in Ontario was eliminated effective January 1, 2022. Therefore, the general minimum wage of $15.50 will now apply to liquor servers.
What happens if the minimum wage increases partway through an employee’s pay period?
The employee’s total pay for the pay period will be based on both minimum wage rates. The payroll computation will be done as if there were 2 separate periods and the different rates applied.
Does Ontario have the highest minimum wage rate in Canada?
Ontario has one of the highest minimum wage rates in Canada, but it lags 3 other provinces, namely Yukon ($16.77), Nunavut ($16) and British Columbia ($15.65).
Why do we have minimum wage rates?
Minimum wage legislations provide the lowest rate an employer can pay its employees. One of the main reasons why they’re important is that they protect non-unionized workers in unskilled jobs and ensures everyone gets a “fair pay”.
Conclusion on Annual Minimum Wage in Ontario
Hope you found this guide to the Ontario minimum wage helpful. To conclude, remember that the rates above are just a minimum. You can always ask and bargain for more.
Also, check that the minimum wage rates are applicable to you and your industry. The Ontario government has a great tool here to help with that.
You should also check that you qualify for the Canada workers benefit and apply to receive the advanced payments.