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Employers Guide to Ontario Labour Laws

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It’s undoubtedly difficult for employers to keep up with the ever-changing Ontario Employment Laws. Unfortunately, you need these laws to help you establish and maintain a healthy employee-employer relationship. Labour laws will also help you handle arising matters legally to avoid constant run-ins with the law.

Ontario Labour laws can be complicated and you might not be able to interpret them as a layman. Fortunately, a Labour lawyer in Ontario can help you stay on the safe side by explaining or interpreting labour laws on human rights, overtime pay, wrongful termination, employment leave, and others. Our guide contains a lot!

The Human Rights Code

Employees are entitled to human rights for their sanity and wellbeing. Human rights involve good working conditions, and a discrimination-free working environment among others. A good working environment boosts the morale of employees which in turn promotes efficiency and the general success of the business. Employers stand to gain when the right of employees are not violated. 

The Human rights code protects the rights of every human being in all spheres of life, including at the workplace. Employees have are entitled to equal treatment and shouldn’t be harassed because of their:

  • Race;
  • Complexion or skin color;
  • Ancestry and ethnic origin;
  • Citizenship;’
  • Creed;
  • Gender and sexual orientation;
  • Gender expression;
  • Age and marital status;
  • Criminal history;
  • Marital status; 
  • Disability and others.

 Equal treatment at work refers to all spheres of employee-employer or employment relationships and the work environment —including:

  • Job applications and recruitment;
  • Personel training;
  • Transfers and promotions;
  • Terms of apprenticeship;
  • Contract terminations and layoffs;
  • Consideration for work done and employment benefits;
  • Overtime pay, work shifts, and working hours;
  • Holidays and leaves;
  • Workplace rules, discipline, and behavior;
  • Performance evaluations and appraisals.

The Employment Standards Act

The Employment Standard Act (ESA) outlines the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of both employers and employees– ontario.ca. is a website with informative resources for the expected labour standards in Ontario. Some of the features of the Employment Standard Act include:

1. Consideration for Work Done (Wages)

Employers must pay their employees in a recurring manner in regards to periods and dates of payment. In other words, there must be consistency; if you decide to pay wages on the 2nd day of the month, stick by that and don’t keep changing the payment date as it can inconvenience employees. ‍

2. Records

Employers must keep records containing the details of every employee but in separate files. You can start with a simple Microsoft Access database and advance as the company grows. Make sure your records, whatever method used, include employees’ names, contact details, date of birth, recruitment date, contract signing date, expected minimum working hours, wage rate hours worked each day–including overtime (OT) work done& OT pay rate, and employee classification.

3. Hours of Work

The legal maximum working hours for employees in Ontario is 8 hours per day or 40 hours for a 5 days week, or 48 hours for a 6 days week, anything beyond the maximum hours is considered overtime work.

Employees have a right to a 30-minutes resting or eating break after every 5 consecutive hours. The break should not be between the 5 hours or before the start of a shift, it must be strictly after working for 5 consecutive hours. Also, employees must get 11 hours of daily rest and should rest for a minimum of 8 hours between shifts, or 13 hours if back-to-back shifts are combined. 

Employees are also entitled to a full day’s rest – 24 consecutive hours, in a week. Exceptional circumstances may arise and employees may be required to work outside the scope of the Employment Act. However, there should be a prior agreement between the employer and the employee; if employees work on their rest days, they should take their rest day (off) on another working day.

4. Overtime Pay

Employees are entitled to overtime pay for work done beyond the minimum working hours–8 hours a day or 44 hours a week. Overtime pay in Ontario is calculated as; the total number of OT hours in a working day, week, or month, multiplied by time and a half – 1.5 times the regular wage rate.

5. Minimum Wage  

All employees in America are entitled to a minimum wage, according to the Employment Standards Act. The current minimum wage for adult workers in Ontario is $15 per hour and is set to rise to $15.50 from October 1st, 2022, while the wage rate for workers below 18 years is $14.1 and is set to increase to $14.6 from October 1st, 2022. 

6. Leave of Absences

Employment leaves in Ontario include:

  • Pregnancy and parental leave;
  • Sick leave;
  • Bereavement leave;
  • Family responsibility leave;
  • Family caregiver leave;
  • Family medical leave;
  • Critical illness leave;
  • Organ donor leave;
  • Reservist leave;
  • Child death leave;
  • Crime-related child disappearance leave;
  • Domestic or sexual violence leave;
  • Declared emergency leave;
  • Infectious disease emergency leave;

Besides the above-mentioned features of the ESA, employers and employees should strive to learn more about their obligations and rights to protect themselves. 

(This article is not written by the editorial team at Fox Interviewer nor is written by Ujwal Sharma, this is a third-party content/Guest Post)

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About author
Ujwal Sharma is an Indian Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Investor and Digital Marketer. He is the Founder and CEO at Uzi World Digital. Follow Ujwal Sharma on Twitter - @Theujwalsharma
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