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Changes to Ontario's minimum wage: what it means for veterinarians

 
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With minimum wage in Ontario increasing to $14/hr next month, many practice owners have questions and want to know what OVMA recommends for wage changes next year. OVMA doesn’t recommend specific staff wage rates, but Darren Osborne, OVMA director of economic research, advises matching your wage increase with an appropriate fee increase.

So far, OVMA is seeing three main strategies that veterinarians are implementing:

1) One veterinarian is increasing her kennel staff to $14 and everyone else will wait until their regular review. This decision costs less than $2,000 and does little to affect the bottom line.

2) Another veterinarian is giving all her staff a $2.60/hr raise. She argues that her receptionists earn five dollars more than minimum wage now, which will decrease to $2.40 in January. Her technicians will then be on par with a receptionist wage, so they’ll also need a raise. This cascades right up the chain. Her decision requires $24,000 more for non-DVM wages and a four per cent fee increase to offset the added cost.

3) Other veterinarians are entertaining an approach in the middle, allowing for an increase to minimum wage and then specific increases for staff members ranging from $0 to $2.60. Using wage information from the Ontario Economic Survey, OVMA can analyze specific increases and determine precisely what fee increase is needed to offset the wage increases.

OVMA is here to help. We can look at non-DVM wage data for a specific hospital and determine exactly how much a wage increase will cost, and how much fees will have to increase to compensate and protect the bottom line. Email Darren Osborne at dosborne@ovma.org or Chris Doherty at cdoherty@ovma.org for more information.

Other changes to Ontario labour legislation

For more information on the other changes to labour legislation, including vacation time, personal emergency leave, and updates to other leave policies, visit our Current Issues page. 

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