Hiring Employees In Ontario, Canada | Navigating the Employment Law Waters

Jul 27, 2012

Hiring Employees in Ontario, Canada

If you are thinking about hiring employees in Ontario, Canada here are five issues you’ll need to consider:

1.    Do federal or provincial laws apply?

About 90% of Ontario employees are governed by provincial laws.

Federal laws apply to employees who work for federal undertakings such as the federal government, banks, and telecommunication companies.

2.    What provincial laws apply?

There are several Ontario employment statutes including

–       the Employment Standards Act which sets out numerous minimum standards including hours of work,  minimum notice of termination, and severance pay;

–       the Human Rights Code which prohibits employment discrimination on 16 prohibited grounds such as sex, race, sexual orientation, and disability;

–       the Occupational Health & Safety Act  which imposes numerous safety obligations on, among others, owners, directors, and employers;

–        the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act which determines compensation for workplace injuries;

–       the Pay Equity Act which mandates equal pay for work of equal value; and

–       the Accessibility For Ontarians with Disabilities Act which requires employers to take measures to accommodate people with disabilities

3.    What judge made laws apply?

There are many legal proceedings that an employee can bring against his or her former employer including

–       a wrongful dismissal action if the employer did not provide the employee with “reasonable notice of termination. Damages are generally up to 24 months remuneration.

–       a no cost complaint under the Employment Standards Act where orders cannot generally exceed $ 10 000, or under the Human Rights Code where damage awards are theoretically unlimited.

–       an action in the courts for violating an employee’s privacy rights (i.e. the tort of the inclusion upon seclusion.

4.    What laws apply to unionized employees?

The laws mentioned above apply to both union and non-union employees.

About 28 % of Ontario’s workforce is unionized.

The process for unionizing an employer is set out in the Ontario Labour Relations Act. There is a different labour relations regime for the construction industry. Generally, a union files a written certification application, the employer has two days to respond, and an employee vote can be scheduled within five days of the union application.

5.    How does one navigate Ontario’s Employment Law waters?

There are numerous free on-line resources, particularly from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

There are scores of employment law lawyers in Ontario particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

Some employment law firms offer complimentary seminars on different employment law issues. In addition, a number of employment lawyers tweet and blog on employment law issues.

If you have any employment law questions, please call us at 1–888-640-1728 or email us at [email protected]. You can follow us on twitter (@MacLeodLawFirm) or subscribe to our employment law blog at www.macleodlawfirm.ca/employers 

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