The Ontario government has announced a drastic 31.6% increase in the general minimum wage. A surge to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018 will be followed by a jump to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. The student under 18 and liquor server differentials will increase, too.

If the proposal proceeds as planned, the following wages will be in effect:


Minimum wage category Current October 1, 2017 January 1, 2018 January 1, 2019
General $11.40 $11.60 $14.00 $15.00
Student under 18 $10.70 $10.90 $13.15 $14.10
Liquor servers $9.90 $10.10 $12.20 $13.05


This was just one of the announcements made by Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario government in an overhaul of the province’s labour laws. Other changes that will impact you include the following:


  • Equal pay provisions mean part-time, temporary and seasonal employees will be paid equally to full-time employees when performing the same job
  • New scheduling rules will include minimum payments for less than 3 hours of work
  • Employees will be entitled to 3 weeks’ vacation after 5 years of service
  • Employees will be entitled to 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two that are paid
  • Related businesses will be treated as one employer, and will be held jointly responsible for monies owing under the Employment Standards Act
  • Unpaid wages will accrue interest
  • You’ll face increased penalties for non-compliance


And you may be impacted by some of these changes to the Labour Relations act:


  • Unions can get certified more easily when an employer engages in misconduct
  • Access to first contract arbitration will be easier
  • The Ontario Labour Relations Board (ORLB) will be required to address first contract mediation-arbitration before dealing with displacement and decertification applications
  • Unions can access employee lists and certain contact information with the support of only 20% of employees
  • ORLB can conduct votes outside the workplace, including electronically and by telephone
  • Successor rights will be extended to the rendering of building services (including contract caterers)
  • ORLB can change the structure of bargaining units within a single employer


What you can do

  1. Call or write to your MPP and Premier Wynne right away. They need to hear how this will impact your business and your ability to create jobs. Follow this link to find out how to contact your MPP and the Premier.
  2. Participate in a committee hearing near you this summer to tell the government how you feel. We’ll tell you how to register as soon as the government releases that information.
  3. Contact Restaurants Canada, and tell us how this unprecedented increase will impact you, and what we can do to help. The more we know about your situation, the more we can help you. Contact our Member Services team with your concerns and comments at or 1-800-387-5649, or 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4225.
  4. Subscribe to RC Insider, our biweekly e-newsletter delivering industry news and updates straight to your inbox.


Read the National Post editorial on how the increase in minimum wage will kill thousands of jobs.