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Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour and raise liquor server rate to match


November 2, 2021
By Bakers Journal

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Toronto – The Ontario government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would raise the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2022. Under the proposed changes, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage.

“Ontario’s workers have been the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as they’ve stocked shelves, kept our supply chain moving and helped so many of us enjoy a meal among family and friends at a local restaurant,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news release. “When we asked labour leaders what their priorities were, increasing the minimum wage was at the top of the list. As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is proud to be working for workers, putting more money into their pockets by increasing the minimum wage.”

Liquor servers have previously received below the general minimum wage, based on the belief customer tipping can make up the difference. However, many of these workers have increasingly seen their tips pooled and redistributed among many staff, making it harder for them to make ends meet. If the legislation is passed, liquor servers would be treated more fairly and see an unprecedented 19.5 per cent increase in their minimum hourly wage, as it changes from $12.55 per hour to the harmonized $15 per hour minimum wage.

Students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides would also see an increase in their special minimum wage rates. Special minimum wage rates are also proposed to increase:

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  • 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 would see an increase from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.
  • Homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) would see an increase from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.
  • Hunting and fishing guides currently have a minimum rate of $71.75 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $143.55 for working five or more hours in a day.
  • Their new proposed rate would be $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.

“These dedicated men and women kept store shelves stocked and supply chains going through the pandemic,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, minister of finance. ” However, we also recognize that for too long workers have been falling behind, and that wages for many have not kept up with the cost of living. They had Ontario’s back, and now, our government has theirs. Ontario workers should be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.”

These proposed changes are part of the government’s broader effort to support, protect and attract workers, and make Ontario the top place to live, work and raise a family. The government will release its plan to protect Ontario’s progress against COVID-19 and for building the foundation for the province’s recovery and prosperity in the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on Nov. 4.


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