The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) provides the minimum standards for working in Ontario. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in Ontario workplaces.
This guide is a convenient source of information about key sections of the ESA. It is for your information and assistance only. It is not a legal document. If you need details or exact language, please refer to the ESA itself and the regulations.
The ESA covers a wide range of employment standards including: minimum requirements for workplaces; provisions to assist employees with family responsibilities; increased flexibility in work arrangements; and mechanisms for compliance and enforcement. Subjects covered under the ESA include:
If a provision in an agreement gives an employee a greater right or benefit than a minimum employment standard under the ESA then that provision applies to the employee.
No employee can agree to waive or give up his or her rights under the ESA (for example, the right to receive overtime pay or public holiday pay). Any such agreement is null and void.
The ESA contains only some of the rules affecting work in Ontario. Other provincial and federal legislation governs issues such as workplace health and safety, human rights and labour relations. Related Ontario laws include the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, the Labour Relations Act, 1995, the Pay Equity Act, and the Human Rights Code. For more information about other Ontario laws, call ServiceOntario at (416) 326-1234 in Toronto, and toll free in the rest of Ontario at 1-800-267-8097 or visit e-Laws.
Federal laws affecting workplaces include statutes on income tax, employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. For more information about federal laws, call the Government of Canada information line at 1-800-622-6232.
Most employees and employers in Ontario are covered by the ESA. However, the ESA does not apply to certain employees and the employers of such employees, including:
For a complete listing of other individuals not governed by the ESA, please check the ESA and its regulations.