Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
Provincial minimum wage rates were increased to their current rates on October 1, 2021. Just one month later, on November 2, 2021, Ontario announced that because the cost of living has increased considerably due to the pandemic, it would introduce legislation that, if passed, would amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to increase minimum wage rates in the province effective January 1, 2022. On November 4, 2021, Ontario introduced that legislation, Bill 43, Build Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2021 (Bill 43), which was carried at First Reading.1 The proposed changes to the minimum wage rates are:
- Increase the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2022;
- Eliminate the liquor server minimum wage of $12.55 per hour and entitle liquor servers to the general minimum wage of $15.00 per hour;
- Increase the minimum wage of students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays from $13.50 to $14.10 per hour;
- Increase the minimum wage of homeworkers (i.e., those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) from $15.80 to $16.50 per hour; and
- Increase the minimum rate of hunting and fishing guides from $71.75 to $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and from $143.55 to $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.
We will follow Bill 43’s progress and provide an update when appropriate.
1 Before a bill can become a law, it must first go through several stages. The first is its introduction, called First Reading when the bill’s objectives are explained and a decision is made whether to accept it for future debate. If it is accepted, it is scheduled for debate at Second Reading. After the debate, a vote is taken on whether to let the bill proceed. In some cases, it may move directly to Third Reading, but it is often first examined by a Standing or Select Committee. During Third Reading, the bill is debated for the last time. If a vote is taken to make the bill a law during Third Reading, it is presented to the Lieutenant Governor for Royal Assent and after Royal Assent is received the bill officially becomes a law.