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Employment Standards &
Occupational Health and Safety

If you are hiring employees there are some important rules and regulations to be aware of under the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act .


Employment Standards

Employment standards are enforced under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), which sets out the minimum standards that employers and employees must follow.

The Ministry of Labour, through its Employment Standards Program:

  • enforces the ESA and its regulations
  • provides information and education to employers and employees, making it easier for people to understand and comply voluntarily
  • investigates possible violations
  • resolves complaints

Employment Standards Act addresses sets out requirement for topics including hours of work, minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay, termination, parental leaves, etc. Contact the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551 for additional information. Canada Business Ontario has a free Employment Regulations Guide to help you familiarize yourself with employer regulations in Ontario and the resources that are available for employers.


Occupational Health and Safety

The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The main purpose of the Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. It sets out duties for all workplace parties and rights for workers. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.

OHSA applies to almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario, including workplace owners, constructors and suppliers of equipment or materials to workplaces covered by the Act.

OHSA does not apply to:

  • Work done by the owner or occupant, or a servant, in a private residence or on the connected land;
  • Workplaces under federal jurisdiction, although federal authorities accept that outside contractors and their employees, while in federal workplaces, are under provincial jurisdiction.

The employment Standards and Occupational Health and Safety Acts do not apply if you operate a business that is regulated by the Government of Canada, such as: banks, broadcasting, air and water transport, fee/flour and seed mills, rail transport, inter-provincial transportation, energy and mining, etc.

For more information on both Employment Standards and Occupational Health and Safety, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour at www.labour.gov.on.ca.