Print Print This Page

Are You Covered by the Employment Standards Act?

  • Issued: August 2008
  • Revised: March 18, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: March 2013

Note: This document is provided for your information and convenience only. It is not legal advice. For complete information, please refer to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and its regulations.

What is the purpose of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)?

The ESA sets out rights of employees and requirements that apply to employers in most Ontario workplaces.

What work is not covered by the ESA?

Most employees and employers in Ontario are covered by the ESA. However, the ESA does not apply to certain individuals and persons or organizations for whom they may perform work, including:

  • Employees in sectors that fall under federal jurisdiction, such as airlines, banks, the federal civil service, post offices, radio and television stations and inter-provincial railways
  • Individuals performing work under a program approved by a college of applied arts and technology or university
  • A secondary school student who performs work under a program authorized by the school board that operates the school in which the student is enrolled
  • People who do community participation under the Ontario Works Act, 1997
  • Police officers (except for the Lie Detectors part of the ESA, which does apply)
  • Inmates taking part in work or rehabilitation programs, or young offenders who perform work as part of a sentence or order of a court
  • People who hold political, judicial, religious or elected trade union offices.

Employees of the Crown are excluded from some (but not all) provisions of the ESA.

Use the Special Rule Tool to find out who is not covered by certain parts of the ESA and who is covered by special rules.

Employment Standards Information Centre
416-326-7160 (Greater Toronto Area) 
1-800-531-5551 (toll free Canada-wide) 
1-866-567-8893 (TTY for hearing impaired)