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  • ISBN (HTML): 978-1-4435-4490-0
  • ISBN (PDF): 978-1-4435-4491-7
  • ISBN (Print): 978-1-4435-4489-4
  • Issued: September 2010
  • Content last reviewed: November 2011
  • PDF VersionPDF [ 295 Kb / 58 pages | Download Adobe Reader ]

This workbook has been prepared to assist employers and employees in understanding some of their obligations and rights under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and its regulations. It does not take the place of the ESA and its regulations and it should not be considered to offer any legal advice on your particular situation.

Who is the Workbook for?

This workbook is a tool designed to help Ontario business owners and managers understand and comply with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Following the ESA is your responsibility – and this workbook is designed to help you do that.

Good working conditions benefit both employees and business owners. Studies show that when employees are satisfied at work, they perform better and stay longer. Knowing how to comply with the ESA – the goal of this workbook – simply makes good business sense!

How is it useful?

More than 20,000 employment standards claims are filed each year. These complaints result in hundreds of businesses being prosecuted each year in Ontario. Having a claim filed against your business can be expensive and time consuming.

This workbook is designed to help you avoid these claims. Some of the ways the workbook can be used are:

In an Inspection

If you receive a Notice of Inspection, the workbook can guide you through some of the standards that the inspector will likely cover. Using what you learn by doing the exercises in this book before an inspection occurs will save you time and money, because you'll be ready.

The ES Program also conducts proactive inspections and there are plans to do more in the future. Businesses are selected using various methods, such as random, sector based, as a result of past claims, etc. If a violation is found there are a variety of enforcement tools that may be issued such as: a Compliance Order, a Notice of Contravention, an Order to Pay or a Certificate of Offence under the Provincial Offences Act may be issued. The inspection will generally include a review of your payroll records.

The best kind of inspection is one that shows a business is interested, understands and complies with its obligations. This workbook will help you do this.

In a Claim

If an employment standards claim has been made against your business, you will receive a notice from the Ministry of Labour. Sometimes a claim can be settled without an investigation or a hearing. This workbook will help you both understand the claim and determine the best way to resolve it.

In Preventative Maintenance

You want your facility to be in good working order. You want your heating and cooling to work. You want to ensure all the equipment you need to do business and serve customers is in working order. This business tool can help you ensure that your employee relations are also in good working order. It may even improve your business’ performance.

How do I use the Workbook?

The workbook has been designed with a busy person in mind – you! It addresses 10 of the standards that make up the ESA, as well as record-keeping. The workbook presents the information in a clear and understandable way for easy readability.

However, the workbook does not cover every ESA right and obligation found therein. Consulting Your Guide to the ESA will provide you with more complete information on these topics.

The 10 standards covered in this workbook:

  1. The ESA Poster
  2. Payment of Wages and Wage Statements
  3. Deductions from Wages
  4. Hours of Work
  5. Eating Periods
  6. Overtime Pay
  7. Minimum Wage
  8. Public Holidays
  9. Vacation with Pay
  10. Termination and Severance

Additional resources found in each section of this workbook:

  • Important links
  • Examples and exercises to assist you
  • Checklists
  • Interactive tools

Before getting started, here are some Helpful Hints:


We are interested in your feedback, ideas and insights into employment standards and your workplace. You can send your comments, take our survey, and sign up for further notices about new resources and tools at


Questions? Call the Employment Standards Call Centre at 1-800-531-5551

Please complete our survey.

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