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Do Ontario's laws about pay apply to me?

Do Ontario's laws about pay apply to me?
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Government of Canada - Employment and Social Development Canada

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Do Ontario's laws about pay apply to me?
This question has an answer and 3 steps
March 9, 2018

It depends on your job.

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has minimum standards that employers must follow. For example, there are rules about:

  • hours of work
  • minimum wage
  • vacation pay, holiday pay, and time off from work

But not all jobs are covered by the ESA. And, in some cases, only parts of the ESA apply.

Use the Ministry of Labour's online tool called Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules to find out if your job is covered by the ESA and which parts of the ESA apply.

You don't need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have a work permit, to be covered by the ESA.

Work placements

Below are some examples where ESA rules about pay do not apply:

  • students in "work experience programs" that are run by a school board, college, or university
  • people on social assistance who are doing community participation under Ontario Works
  • people in jail who are in work programs
  • people doing work that a court ordered or sentenced them to do

Federal laws

Some industries are covered by federal laws. These are laws made by the Government of Canada and they apply throughout the country.

These industries include banks, airlines, some trucking businesses, and broadcasting.

Workers in these industries are covered by the Canada Labour Code. Like the ESA, the Canada Labour Code sets out minimum standards employers must follow.

If you're covered by the Canada Labour Code, some of the pay rules under the ESA apply to you. For example, the minimum wage rates. But the Canada Labour Code has its own rules about overtime pay.

If your employer says you're "self-employed"

Some employers say that their workers are self-employed and the Employment Standards Act (ESA) does not apply to them.

But even if you signed something that says you're an "independent contractor" or in business for yourself, the rights in the ESA might still apply to you. See Step 3 below. For example, you might have the right to minimum wage.

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