Workers' rights in Ontario

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) is a key piece of legislation to resolve employer-employee disputes while protecting employees’ rights. The ESA provides protection for most employees in Ontario, including full-time, part-time, temporary and student workers. However, not all occupations are subject to the protection of the Act. For example the ESA does not apply to industries which fall under federal jurisdiction such as postal services, transportation, banking and broadcasting.

MTO Chinese southeast Asian Legal Workers rightsThe ESA sets out the rules for minimum wage, hours of work, overtime and vacation pay, termination notice and pay, severance pay as well as maternity and parental leave. The Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour is responsible for handling claims filed by employees for violations of the ESA. Filing an Employment Standards Act claim is free. Employees must file a claim with the Ministry of Labour within 6 months from the date monies are owing.

This link will provide more details about the ESA.  This brochure contains general legal information about ESA protection for employees. The law can change, and each person’s situation is different. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please consult your local community legal clinic, community agency or a lawyer.  This brochure is published by the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. Its contents are derived from the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Ministry of Labour’s “Guide to the Employment Standards Act”.


By Topic List

Wage and tips

Hours of Work and Overtime Work

Public holidays

Vacation Pay and vacation with Pay

Pregnancy and Parental Leave

Termination and Severance Pay

Filing a Claim


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