Canada Labour Code Laws for Breaks and Lunches – Know Your Rights

Break Laws Ontario

The Canada Labour Code requires that all federally regulated employees be granted one 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. This means your employer can’t force you to eat at your desk or work through the break. If your employer requires you to be on call during your ‘break’ this is working time and you are entitled to be paid. 

What if I don’t want a 30-minute lunch break?

Every employee is entitled to and must be granted a break of at least 30 minutes for every five hours of work. In the case of an emergency, your employer may cancel or postpone your break, however this only applies in limited circumstances.  

If I’m scheduled for a ten-hour shift how many breaks do I get?

If you are scheduled to work from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm you’re entitled to two thirty-minute breaks. As a result you would only have 9 hours of working time during your shift. 

Do I have to work during my break?

No, during your break you are considered off the clock and you’re free to socialize, go to the gym, go shopping or run any personal errands. In the case of an emergency or if your employer asks you to work.

Does my employer have to pay me for my Break?

No, unless your contract says otherwise, your employer doesn’t have to pay you during your lunch break. However, if your employer asks you to work or take a call during your break, you’re entitled to be paid for this time. 

Am I entitled to time off in-between shifts?

Subject to limited exceptions (emergencies), you are entitled to at least eight hours off in between shifts. 

Can I split my breaks up during my shift?

No, according to the Code you have to receive 30 minutes of time off work for every five hours worked. As a result, you can’t split your break-time into two 15-minute breaks.

Is it illegal to not get a break at work in Canada?

Every province has its own rules with regards to breaks but if your workplace is federally regulated your employer must provide you with an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes to an employee for every five hours of consecutive work

If you would like to make sure you’re a federally regulated worker go to: List of Federally Regulated Companies in Canada

Monkhouse Law is a Toronto law firm specializing in employment law. If your employer is violating your right to receive a break, book a free 30 minute consultation today. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form.


Free Consultation

Call us for a free 30 minute phone consultation at 416-907-9249 or submit a callback request. We endeavor to phone you back once we have reviewed the information, calls will be Monday to Friday between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM:



Monkhouse Law