You have the power to help yourself. One important way is to know the laws.
Ontario workers are protected by both occupational health and safety and employment standards laws. Employers must pay at least a minimum wage and provide a safe and healthy work environment, among other responsibilities.
Workers have responsibilities under the law too. Learning about the legislation that keeps you healthy, safe and treated fairly at work is important.
If you're working now or planning a new or first job, find out what laws apply to you and if there are any special provisions you should know about.
Sometimes you may be entitled to be paid for a statutory holiday, and sometimes you're not. You can't work in some types of workplaces until you're at least 16 years old.
In this section, you can link to short descriptions of the legislation, or follow the road map, which will take you to the basics you need to know.
Road Map: Basics of the OHSA and ESA
Here's a three-step process to help you understand the law.
Step 1 - Find out if you're covered by the legislation.
Not everyone is and sometimes you may be covered under different legislation. It may depend on various things, like the type of place where you're working or the type of work you are doing.
Employment standards: find out if the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) covers
you and if it does, what parts of the legislation apply.
Health and safety: find out if you're covered by the
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), or perhaps by similar federal
When you complete Step 1 you'll know if the type of work you do is covered by federal or provincial legislation. If it's federal, there are directions to websites with information on that legislation. If your job is covered by Ontario's Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, read on...
Step 2 - Learn your rights and responsibilities.
Whether it's getting minimum wage or getting the training to do the job, you need to know what 's expected of you and what you have the right to ask for. Too many workers don't find out about these things until there's a problem. Be smart and be safe - find out first.
Health and safety
Step 3: Find out what the law says your employer must do to protect you.
Protection can include keeping accurate employment records or providing safety glasses. In either case, knowing what the employer has to do may be important if there's ever a problem with your pay or time off or if you feel you haven't been given the information you need to do your job safely.
Health and safety
Find out more about:
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) requires employers to pay insurance premiums to compensate their workers if they get injured, but also to ensure the workplace is safe so that injuries are prevented. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) administers the WSIA. Contact them at www.wsib.on.ca
For a quick guide on WSIB, try:
Would you like to know more about the history of these laws?
I'm not working yet | I'm working now | I'm leaving my job |
| Search / site map | Contact us | Back to home |
| Employment standards at work | Health and safety at work | I've got a problem |
| Ministry of Labour |
central site |
This information is provided as a public service by the Government of Ontario. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the currency and accuracy of the information presented on the site, but readers should verify information before acting on it.
Copyright information: © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2002-11