The new year brings some changes to Ontario residents that can directly effect monthly expenses, including a minimum wage increase and rent increase.
Here's a look at some of the changes:
Minimum wage increase
The minimum wage in Ontario will be increasing to $15 per hour on Jan. 1.
Under the change, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers will be eliminated and they will fall under the general minimum wage category, up to $15 from the current $12.55.
According to the province, special wage rates are also increasing for:
Students under 18 who work 28 hours or less a week while school is in session or who work during school breaks or summer would see an increase from $13.50 t0 $14.10.
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 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.
Staycation tax credit
For the 2022 tax year, the Ontario government is offering residents tax credits for taking advantage of accommodations within the province.
This personal income tax credit would provide up to 20 per cent of eligible accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, for a maximum credit of $200 or $400, respectively.
Eligible accommodations would have to be:
For a stay at an eligible location such as a hotel, motel, resort, lodge, bed-and-breakfast establishment, cottage or campground in Ontario for less than a month.
Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022.
Is not for business purposes.
Not reimbursed to the tax filer, their spouse or common-law partner, or their eligible child, by any person, including by a friend or an employer.
Paid by the Ontario tax filer, their spouse or common-law partner, or their eligible child, as set out on a detailed receipt.
Subject to GST and HST.
Maximum rent increase
Based on inflation, the maximum allowable rent increase in Ontario is 1.2 per cent for 2022.
Landlords have to apply to the Landlord Tenant Board for any rent increase that exceeds that amount.
The increase comes after Ontario froze rent for the vast majority of tenants in 2021 due to the pandemic. To support renters, the 2021 rent increase guideline was set at 0 per cent.
Rent increases are not automatic or mandatory and tenants must be given 90 days written notice using the correct form.
In addition, at least 12 months must have passed since the first day of the tenancy or the last rent increase. If a tenant believes they have received an improper rent increase, they may dispute it at the board within 12 months.
The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) will have jurisdiction over new matters in the new year. On Sept. 23, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services expanded their governing power on some matters starting Jan. 1.
People living in condos in Ontario will now hear disputes about noise, odour, lights, vibrations, smoke, and vapour.
Since the tribunal started in 2017 it dealt with record issues. In Oct. 1, 2020, it took on disputes over animals, storage, and parking. The three step process is all online and in total costs $200.
"Everything we do at the CAO is digital, including this tribunal, which is Canada's first fully online tribunal," said Robin Dafoe, CEO and registar of the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO).
The first stage is a self-directed negotiation. If things need to progress, it goes to stage two, which then sees a member of the tribunal act as a mediator between the two parties. If satisfaction isn't reached, then the last step would have another member of the tribunal issue a binding decision. All decisions are posted on the CAO's website.
Dafoe said having it online makes it easier for those with disputes to get their matters settled, as opposed to going through the court system, which have in-person hearings.