2014 is shaping up to be the year of the minimum wage increase across Canada. As we reported back in May 2014, the general minimum wage in Ontario was raised from $10.25 per hour to $11.00 per hour as of June 1, 2014. Earlier this week on September 1, 2014, Alberta also raised its general minimum wage from $9.95 per hour to $10.20 per hour, which means that every jurisdiction in Canada has now passed the $10.00 general minimum wage barrier.
In the meantime, 7 other provinces and territories have either increased, or will shortly be increasing, their general minimum wage rate. A list of the new rates and the effective dates is set out below:
Jurisdiction Old rate New rate Effective date
- Nova Scotia: $10.30 $10.40 April 1 2014
- Yukon $10.54 $10.72 April 1 2014
- Quebec $10.15 $10.35 May 1 2014
- Ontario $10.25 $11.00 June 1 2014
- Alberta $9.95 $10.20 September 1 2014
- Manitoba $10.45 $10.70 October 1 2014
- NFLD $10.00 $10.25 October 1 2014
- PEI $10.20 $10.35 October 1 2014
- Saskatchewan $10.00 $10.20 October 1 2014
The 3 provinces and territories that have not indicated an intention to change their general minimum wage rate are the following:
- BC $10.25 May 1, 2012
- NWT $10.00 April 1, 2011
- Nunavut $11.00 January 1, 2011
It appears that the next trend in the area of minimum wage rates is the indexing of those rate to changes in the Consumer Price Index. Currently, Nova Scotia and Yukon both adjust their general minimum wage rate annually on April 1 to match the increase (if any) in the Consumer Price Index. Ontario is currently considering legislation (which has not yet passed) that would implement a similar process in Ontario with indexing to begin on October 1, 2015.
Regardless of what happens with the upcoming provincial election, one thing is for certain come this June; the minimum wage in Ontario will rise as of June 1st. Employers should therefore make sure they are familiar with the various rate changes described below.
The general minimum wage rate applies to most employees. The current rate is $10.25 per hour and it will rise to $11.00 per hour.
The student minimum wage applies to 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. The current rate is $9.60 per hour and it will rise to $10.30 per hour.
The liquor servers minimum wage is lower and reflective of the additional income earned through tips in that industry. It applies to employees who serve liquor directly to customers or guests in licensed premises as a regular part of their work. “Licensed premises” are businesses for which a license or permit has been issued under the Liquor Licence Act. The current rate is $8.90 per hour and it will rise to $9.55 per hour.
The homeworkers minimum wage applies to employees who do paid work in their own homes. The work performed by individuals as homeworkers can be extremely varied. The Ministry of Labour provides the following examples: sewing clothes for a clothing manufacturer, answering telephone calls for a call centre, or writing software for a high-tech company. The current rate $11.28 per hour and it will rise to $12.10 per hour.
Finally, there is a special rate for hunting and fishing guides, which is based on blocks of time rather than an hourly rate. Individuals employed in these jobs get a minimum amount for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and a different amount for working five hours or more in a day. The current rates are $51.25 for less than five consecutive hours, and $102.50 for working five or more hours, regardless of whether the hours are consecutive. These rates will rise to $55.00 and $110.00 respectively.
Bill 21, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of family caregiver, critically ill childcare and crime related child death or disappearance leaves of absence received Royal Assent on April 29, 2014.
This Bill amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to create the following leaves of absence, which are now in effect:
- Under section 49.3, an employee is entitled to a leave of absence without pay to provide care or support to a family member who has a serious medical condition. An employee may take up to eight weeks per calendar year with respect to each family member set out in the legislation.
- Under section 49.4, an employee employed by his or her employer for at least six consecutive months is entitled to a leave of absence without pay of up to 37 weeks to provide care or support to a critically ill child.
- Under section 49.5, an employee employed by his or her employer for at least six consecutive months is entitled to a leave of absence without pay if a child of the employee dies or disappears and it is probable, considering the circumstances, that the child died or disappeared as a result of crime. This leave is up to 104 weeks in the event of the death of a child and up to 52 weeks with respect to the disappearance of a child.
For a review of the full text of Bill 21, please link here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/40_Parliament/Session2/b021ra.pdf