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Minimum wage and "room & board"

Region: Ontario Answer # 585

The Employment Standards Act sets a minimum wage, which is the lowest amount that an employer can legally pay an employee per hour. Current minimum wages in Ontario are tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Minimum wage requirements


Minimum wage rates effective January 1, 2022 are as follows:

General Minimum Wage $15.00 / hr
Student Minimum Wage $14.10/ hr
Liquor Servers Minimum Wage

(Now considered “general minimum wage” workers)

$15.00/ hr
Homeworkers Minimum Wage $16.50 / hr

The student minimum wage rate applies to students under 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or summer holidays. Homeworkers are employees who are paid to work in their own homes, such as answer calls for a call centre.


Rules about paying an employee through room and board

Sometimes, an employee is paid partly with money and partly by room and board. In this situation, the employer usually provides meals and a place to sleep, and then charges the employee the cost of room and board, which is automatically deducted from the employee’s pay. There is a maximum amount that most employers can charge for room and board.

If the employer charges for a room, the maximum charge that can be deducted from the employee’s pay is $31.70 per week for a private room, and $15.85 per week for a shared room. For meals, the employer can only charge $2.55 for each meal, and not more than $53.55 per week. When both room and board are provided, the employer cannot charge more than $85.25 per week for a private room, and $69.40 per week if the room is shared.

Federal employees minimum wage

Employees under federal authority include employees of the federal government, banks, airlines, railways, telecommunications, Aboriginal bands, interprovincial transportation, the post office, and radio and television stations, and issues such as minimum wage are covered under the Canada Labour Code. The current federal minimum wage is $15.55 an hour.

According to the Government of Canada:

An employee should be paid at least the federal minimum wage. If the minimum wage of the province or territory where the employee usually works is higher than the federal minimum wage, the employer is to pay the higher minimum wage“.

Get help

If you are unsure how much you should be paid or how much you should pay for room and board, you can contact the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. You can also view the Ministry Guide to the Employment Standards Act which details the rights and obligations of employees covered under the ESA regarding minimum wage, hours of work, termination of employment, vacation and more. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.

A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

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