The student minimum wage in Ontario is $15.60 per hour in 2024.
In Ontario, there is the general minimum wage, which is 16.55 per hour in 2024, and various special minimum wages, including, the student minimum wage.
How To Know If The Student Minimum Wage Applies?
The special student minimum wage is detailed under section 23.1(1)(i) of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. There, this is exactly what the Employment Standards Act says in respect of the student minimum wage in Ontario:
Determination of minimum wage
1.i.) For employees who are students under 18 years of age, if the student’s weekly hours do not exceed 28 hours or if the student is employed during a school holiday, $15.60 per hour.ESA
In layman’s terms, Ontario’s student minimum wage applies only to students who are under 18 years of age who work 28 hours a week or less during the school year or the summer break.
The Employment Standards Act does not define “student,” but for the purpose of the student wage, a student is considered to be someone who attends an elementary, secondary, or post-secondary institution. Still, to qualify for the student minimum wage, an individual must be under 18 years of age. Hence, many first and second year college/university student” would be entitled to the general minimum wage, not the student minimum wage.
If a young person is not enrolled in school or on a summer holiday from school, they must be paid the general minimum wage, regardless of being under 18. Employers are responsible for verifying that an individual qualifies for the student minimum wage — essentially confirming that the young employee is either enrolled in school or on a school break. Indeed, employers may ask an young worker for proof they are in school.
Another thing to highlight: Only students who work 28 hours or less per week can be paid the the student minimum wage.
Why Is There A Student Minimum Wage?
This student minimum wage rate rate was established to help younger people gain employment, acknowledging that they may not be as competitive in the job market compared to adults or college students who may be viewed by employers as being more capable.
Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.