Employment Law Ontario

Employment Law

Employment law in Ontario is the series of rights and entitlements which have been put in place to protect the rights of workers in non-unionized workplaces. In contrast, labour law is the series of rules and regulations which govern unionized workplaces.

What is Employment Common Law in Ontario?

Employees are also offered additional protection via the “common law.” Sometimes referred to as “judge-made-law” or a “precedent system,” common law simply refers to a legal system stemming from the United Kingdom, whereby courts can offer guidance on disputes pertaining to the application and interpretation of various statutes, by reviewing how previous judges ruled in similar disputes in the past.

Over time, these rulings and decisions help evolve employees’ minimum rights and entitlements and set “precedents” on the rights and entitlements of employees in a given dispute. For instance, when assessing the enforceability of an employee’s contract which may purport to limit their severance, employment lawyers can look to previous trial decisions regarding the enforceability of similarly drafted contracts, in order to predict and/or advocate how the law should be applied to the contract in question.

To no surprise, the enforceability of employment contracts is a common area of contention that employees may encounter in the workplace. With the thrill of a new job offer or promotion, employers sometimes use this opportunity to offer employees contracts with buried restrictive provisions within the contract, which may limit the employee’s entitlements in the future. For example, an employee’s right to bonus pay following their dismissal is a commonly disputed matter, and the terms and conditions set out in an employee’s contract may act to exclude their right to bonus pay.

What Laws in Ontario Protect Employee’s Rights?

Employment Law entitlements stem from statutes such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”), the Employment Insurance Act (the “EIA”), the Ontario Human Rights Code the (“Code”), the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (“WSIA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), and other legislation, which provide guarantees such as sick leave rights, vacation pay, severance pay, employment insurance benefits (“EI”), disability accommodation, maternity leave rights, and other similar rights and entitlements regarding workplace issues.

The Employment Standards Act

The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets out the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in Ontario. The ESA provides the minimum standards of employment both employers and employees must follow, including wages, leaves of absence, work hours, notice and severance pay upon termination. 

For more information, please review Employment Standards Act Ontario – Employment Standards in Ontario.

The Canada Labour Code

The Canada Labour Code applies to employees who work under the federal legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada. Labour standards under the Canada Labour Code are different than the Employment Standards Act. Most employees in Ontario are governed by provincial legislation, but those working for large employers such as banks are subject to the Canada Labour Code.

For more information, please review Canada Labour Code Employees.

The Employment Insurance Act

The Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary income support to unemployed workers while they look for employment or to upgrade their skills.

For more information, please review Employment Insurance Lawyer. 

The Ontario Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects individuals from discrimination and harassment at work. Protected grounds include:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation

Also, human rights issues may be due to ‘invisible disabilities’:

  • Learning Disabilities including dyslexia, ADD and ADHD and more
  • Sleep Apnea and other disabilities that affect cognitive reasoning
  • Stress and Anxiety disorders
  • Addiction including alcohol, drug, gambling and more

All of these human rights issues could lead to discrimination, harassment and possibly wrongful dismissal.

For more information, please review Human Rights Lawyer Toronto.

For more information regarding employment law, contact Monkhouse Law Employment Lawyers at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.

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