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Domestic workers have the same rights under Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA), whether they work part-time or full-time, and whether they live in or out of their employer's home.

The difference between domestic and home workers

Domestic workers

Domestic workers are not the same as homeworkers. They work in a private home directly for the person who owns or rents the home. Not by a business or agency.

They are hired to work in a private home and do things such as, housekeeping, or provide care, supervision or personal assistance to children or people who are elderly, ill or disabled.

For example, a worker who prepares food in a private residence, for the people living there to eat, is a domestic worker.

A person who provides occasional, short-term care, supervision or personal assistance to children is not considered a domestic worker.


Homeworkers do paid work, from their own homes, for an employer. This could include online research, preparing food for resale, sewing, telephone soliciting, manufacturing, and word processing.

For example, a worker who prepares food at their home, for resale by their employer, is a homeworker.

Rights under the ESA

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) contains employment rights on the following, which apply to most employees in Ontario, including domestic workers:

  • minimum wage
  • regular payment of wages
  • hours of work protections (for example, maximum hours of work, daily and weekly/bi-weekly rest periods)
  • overtime pay
  • vacation with pay
  • public holidays
  • pregnancy and parental leave
  • sick leave
  • family responsibility leave
  • bereavement leave
  • family caregiver leave
  • family medical leave
  • critical illness leave
  • organ donor leave
  • reservist leave
  • crime-related child disappearance leave
  • child death leave
  • domestic or sexual violence leave
  • termination notice and/or pay in lieu of notice
  • severance pay
  • equal pay for equal work

Employers are required to provide their employees with a copy of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development's, Employment Standards Poster, within 30 days from the date they were hired.

If an employee requests a copy of the poster in a language other than English and there's a published a version in that language, the employer must provide the translated version, in addition to the English copy.

Learn more about special rules or exemptions for domestic workers.

Domestic workers who are temporary foreign workers

In Ontario, domestic workers who are also foreign nationals, working or looking for work, under the foreign temporary employee program or for immigration purposes have:

Learn more about the employment protection for foreign nationals.

Minimum wage rate

The general minimum wage rate, in Ontario, is $16.55 per hour.

The student minimum wage rate, in Ontario, is $15.60 per hour.

Domestic workers (who are not students under the age of 18) must be paid the general minimum wage.

For more information see the chapter on minimum wage.

Room and meals for a domestic worker when calculating minimum wage

An employee's gross pay must add up to at least the minimum wage for all hours worked before any deductions are made for such things as Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI) and income tax.

However, if the employer provides room and/or board to the domestic worker, they:

  • can include the amounts for room only, meals only or room and meals in the calculation of the employee's pay.
  • must pay the worker at least the minimum wage.

Amounts if providing room only

  • $31.70 per week, for a private room
  • $0.00 for a non-private room

In order to be considered wages, the room provided must:

  • be reasonably furnished
  • be fit for human residence
  • be supplied with clean bed linen and towels
  • have access to proper toilet and washroom facilities

Amounts if providing meals only

  • $2.55 for each meal
  • $53.55 per week for all meals

Amounts if providing both room and meals

  • $85.25 per week for a private room
  • $53.55 per week for a non-private room

Example of how to calculate room and/or board

Diondra works 40 hours per week as a domestic worker and her regular hourly wage is $16.55 per hour, the general minimum wage. Therefore, Diondra is entitled to $662 gross pay per week ($16.55 × 40).

Her employer provides her with a private room and meals and is therefore considered to have paid Diondra $85.25 (weekly maximum allowed for room and board). In this scenario, Diondra's pay calculation for the week would be:

$576.75 (regular wages) + $85.25 (room and board) = $662 (which amounts to $16.55 × 40 hours)