Probation Period

When it comes to HR, recruitment and hiring can be a major process. From job postings to interviews to selecting from a handful of top candidates, it could take anywhere from three weeks to three months to hire a new employee. With all these efforts, employers may want to set a probation period. This allows you to evaluate if the recruit is a good fit and, if not, terminate the contract.

What is a probation period?

In the employment context, a probation period is a short period of time (generally three months) that serves as a trial period for both the employer and employee and helps determine whether there is a fit for both parties.

Probation Period Insights for Employers

If you include a trial period for new employees, there are two factors you should consider:

  1. Length of probation
  2. Agreement in writing

First, while probation periods are not specifically addressed in legislation, you must pay close attention to the Employment Standards in your company’s province, as there are labour laws surrounding terminations and temporary layoffs that affect the length of your probation period.

Second, if you include a probation period, you must put it in writing. In doing so, you clearly state that the employment is probationary and manage expectations, including how termination would work.


If you have questions about setting a probation period for new employees, ask an HR expert from Employer Line. Our dedicated advice line is free for business owners to call anytime: 1 (888) 219-8767.