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How do I make an employment standards claim with the Ministry of Labour?
If an employer has not followed Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) you may be able to make a claim with the Ministry of Labour.
For example, you can make a claim if your employer has:
- paid you less than minimum wage
- not paid you what they owe you for overtime
- made illegal deductions from your pay
- punished you because you asked them to respect your rights
To find out if your job is covered by the ESA, see Step 1.
The Ministry looks into claims and can order the employer to pay you money that they owe you.
And if your employer punished you for asking about your rights or asking them to respect your rights, the Ministry can order your employer to:
- give you your job back, if you were fired
- change their practices so they follow the law
But they rarely order an employer to give you back your job.
They can also order your employer to pay you money:
- for costs that you had
- to replace money that you were forced to spend because of what the employer did
- because of how the employer's actions affected you
Most people don't make claims against an employer that they're still working for. This is because the laws to protect workers don't stop employers from firing their workers. And if you're fired, it's up to you to take action against the employer to get what they owe you.
The process of making a claim with the Ministry and getting a decision can take between 3 to 8 months or longer. If you can resolve problems with your employer, that’s always best.
Workers have up to 2 years to make a claim for wages that their employer owes them.