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What is the Minimum Wage in Ontario in 2021? Upcoming Increases and Top Trends

By July 8th, 2021HR at Work

What is the Minimum Wage in Ontario in 2021?


The majority of employees in Ontario are eligible for minimum wage, the lowest hourly rate an employer can pay. No matter what type of employment relationship an employer and an employee have, full-time, part-time, or casual, all workers who are paid an hourly wage are entitled to receive no less than the minimum determined by the Employment Standards Act.

As of June 2021, the minimum wage in Ontario is $14.25 per hour, effective October 1st, 2020 [1]. The rate is known as the general minimum wage that is applied to most adult workers in Ontario. 

Moving out of the province, the lowest hourly rate would change based on the provincial regulations and standards. Find out how Ontario’s minimum wage legislation compares to other provinces and territories by reading our guide to the minimum wage in Canada by provinces.

When Will the Minimum Wage Increase in Ontario?


The minimum wage in Ontario is set to increase annually as determined by the Making Ontario Open for Business Act [1]. Increases are supposed to make up for the changes in the economic environment and reflect the Ontario Consumer Price Index.

The general minimum wage in Ontario will increase on October 1st, 2021 by 10 cents to $14.35 per hour. The last increase happened on October 1st, 2020 when the minimum wage rate rose by $0.25 [2]. The wage rate rose gradually over many years, as Ontario has a long history of the minimum wage after it was established in 1920. Below is the chart depicting how the minimum wage in Ontario progressed over the last 25 years.

The history of the wage rates in Ontario - graph


Are There Any Minimum Wage Exemptions in Ontario?


The general minimum wage of $14.25 is not the only minimum wage requirement in Ontario. There are quite a few minimum wage exceptions applicable to special groups of employees in the province. The exemptions are generally applied to the following groups of employees under specific conditions: students, liquor servers, hunting and fishing guides, homeworkers, wilderness guides, and commission-based employees.

Employees Exempt from the General Minimum Wage [2]

Employees exempt from the general min wage rate

Rates from Oct 1st, 2020 till Sept 30th, 2021

Rates from Oct 1st, 2021 till Sept 30th, 2022

$13.40 per hour
$13.50 per hour
Liquor Servers
$12.45 per hour
$12.55 per hour
Hunting and Fishing Guides
$71.30 - less than 5 consecutive hours; $142.60 - for 5 or more hours.
$71.75 - less than 5 consecutive hours; $143.55 - for 5 or more hours.
$15.70 per hour
$15.80 per hour
Wilderness Guides
$71.30 - less than 5 consecutive hours; $142.60 - for 5 or more hours.
$71.75 - less than 5 consecutive hours; $143.55 - for 5 or more hours.
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Interesting Facts about the Minimum Wage in Ontario.


Knowing the three-hour rule is essential for employers and minimum wage workers in Ontario.

The three-hour rule applies to workers who are called into work for a shift with a duration of fewer than three hours. In that case, the workers must be paid for the full three hours. For example, a person who was called in and ended up working for just an hour is entitled to receive the payment worth three hours anyway (including tips, if applicable) [2].


Minimum Wage Employees

There are 3 industries which have the largest percentage of their workforce at minimum wages: accommodation/food services - 39%, retail trade - 24%, and agricultural industries - 18% [3].

Minimum Wage Distribution

The youth stand out as the largest group among minimum wage earners. Employees who are 15- 19 years of age are around 4.9% of the total workforce but they form a solid 42.1% of the minimum wage workforce [3].

Commission-Based Wage

Although commission-based employees are not considered hourly workers, they must be paid at least the minimum wage equivalent of their time. On the other hand, if an employee exceeds that amount, the employer only has to pay them that sum [2].

Overtime Wage

Minimum wage workers are still entitled to receive overtime pay for more than 44 hours worked in a week. Also known as time and a half, the rate that a minimum wage employee would be entitled to receive is $21.40 ($14.25 * 1.5 = $21.40).
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