Employment Standards Act Ontario
The Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA) regulates employment in the province. The legislation applies to all provincially regulated workplaces in Ontario. Federal employees and other special categories are not covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
What is the purpose of the Ontario Employment Standards Act?
The Employment Standards Act sets down the minimum standards for basic conditions of employment, such as wages, vacation time and pay, leaves of absence, work hours, overtime, termination notice and pay, and severance pay obligations. It defines the legal rights and obligations of employers and employees.
The minimum standards set down in the ESA apply to all provincially regulated workplaces in Ontario. Employers are free to provide more benefits and rights to their employees than those outlined in the ESA – but they cannot offer less.
It is important that employers understand and comply with ESA provisions. Employers can’t intimidate, punish, or terminate an employee for asking questions about the ESA or the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), or exercising their rights under the ESA or OHSA, such as taking a leave of absence or refusing unsafe work.
Who is not covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act?
The following industries and jobs are not covered under the Employment Standards Act in Ontario:
- Employees in federally regulated industries, such as airlines, banks, post offices, etc.
- Secondary school students employed as part of co-operative programs authorized by their school board.
- Post-secondary students working in co-operative or work experience programs approved by their college or university.
- Politicians, judges, religious officials, or elected trade union officials.
- Police officers (But Part XVI of the ESA Ontario that covers lie detector sections does apply).
- People participating in the Community Participation Program under the Ontario Works program.
- Inmates participating in work or rehabilitation programs.
- Young offenders carrying out work as part of a sentence or court order.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act also contains special rules and exemptions for job categories, such as construction, landscaping, manufacturing, hospitality services, agriculture, etc., and other industries and jobs, such as student employees, homeworkers, embalmers, and funeral directors.
Do you need help staying compliant with the Ontario Employment Standards Act?
Non-compliance with the Employment Standards Act can expose you to litigation, fines, compliance orders and prosecution. It is important that you understand and comply with ESA provisions to keep your staff and business safe.
Our experts are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the Ontario Employment Standards Act. Call us today at 1 (833) 247-3650.