A Guide To Minimum Wage In Ontario

Are you currently living in Ontario or thinking of moving there, and still have questions about the minimum wage?

From learning about the three-hour rule to understanding how minimum wage works for commission-based employees, we’ve covered everything you need to know about the minimum wage in Ontario, to ensure you know your rights and are getting paid fairly at your minimum wage job.

What Is the Minimum Wage in Ontario

As of October 1 2021, the general minimum wage in Ontario is $14.35 per hour.

Different Minimum Wage Rates in Ontario

In Ontario, the minimum wage rates will vary based on the industry you are working in, which is something to consider if you’re on the hunt for a new job.

For example, liquor servers have a lower minimum wage rate than other jobs, since it’s expected that tips make up the difference.

If you’d like to see the different minimum wage rates in Ontario, check out the table below:

October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022
General $14.35 per hour
Student $13.50 per hour
Liquor Services $12.55 per hour
Hunting & Fishing Guides $71.75
Rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day

$143.55
Rate for working five or more hours in a day, whether or not the hours are consecutive

Homeworkers $15.80 per hour
Wilderness Guides $71.75
Rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day

$143.55
Rate for working five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are consecutive

Source: Ontario.ca

Minimum Wage History in Ontario

Over the last 10 years, the minimum wage has been increasing.

The following table shows the 10 most recent changes to the general minimum wage in Ontario:

Date Hourly Minimum Wage
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 31, 2010 $10.25
March 31, 2009 $9.50
March 31, 2008 $8.75

Commission Based Employees

For employees that earn commission, they should still be earning at a minimum the amount of the minimum hourly rate when averaged over their hours worked.

For example, if Jeremy has a weekly pay period and works on a commission basis, and he received $200 for working 30 hours this week, we need to do a quick calculation to ensure he got paid above minimum wage.

So, we multiply 30 hours by the general minimum wage rate of $14.35, which gives us $430.50.

Since Jeremy only received $200 for his work, his employer needs to pay the difference between his commission pay of $200 and the $430.40 he is owed based on minimum wage laws.

That said, there are some industries and jobs that are not covered by this provision.

To see if it applies to you, you can read more about it here.

Canadian cash in wallet

The Three-Hour Rule

Not many people know about the three-hour rule, but it’s an important law to be aware of if you want to be fully informed of your labor rights.

Employees that regularly work over three hours a day and report to work but then end up working less than 3 hours that day must be paid at least three hours of their regular pay rate.

For example, let’s say a liquor server is usually paid the exact minimum wage rate of $12.55 per hour.

They get to work, work an hour, and then get sent home, they must get paid for that hour, plus another 2 hours.

So, they are entitled to $12.55 x 3 hours = $37.65.

That’s the three-hour rule.

Keep in mind that the three-hour rule doesn’t apply to:

  • Employees that usually work shifts of less than 3 hours
  • In some cases, if the employee’s inability to work at least 3 hours was out of the employer’s control

The three-hour rule does apply to students of all ages, except if the student:

  • Works at a kid’s camp, unless the student doubles as a wilderness guide
  • Instructs or supervises children, unless the student doubles a wilderness guide
  • Is participating in a recreational program run by a charity, unless the student doubles as a wilderness guide

How Often Does the Minimum Wage Increase in Ontario?

The minimum wage rate increases in Ontario are linked with inflation, using a formula tied to the Ontario Consumer Price Index.

This will be assessed on an ongoing basis and increases will be made annually in October if applicable. If we look at past data and patterns, the Ontario minimum wage has been steadily increasing (the only exception being the bigger spike from 2017 to 2018).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is minimum wage going up to $15 in Ontario?
  • What is the effective minimum wage per hour after taxes, EI or any other deductions for Ontario?
  • There are various factors that affect the effective minimum wage per hour after taxes, EI and any other deductions. But on average, after all the deductions, it should come out to be about $12 per hour.

    You can always use this handy tool to calculate your payroll deductions. For 2021, the federal tax rate on the first $49,020 of taxable income is 15%, and the provincial tax rate on the first $45,142 of taxable income is 5.05%, so your tax rate will likely be around 20% overall. Deductions depend on your RRSP contributions, your benefits plan, life insurance premiums, and more.


Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.