• Issued: May 2, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: June 2019


Parents: Is your son or daughter’s workplace safe?

Young workers often can’t recognize health and safety hazards and may hesitate to ask questions. This can lead to serious injury or even death.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.

Remind your kids that all workers have the right to:

  • know about health and safety hazards in their workplaces and how to protect themselves.
  • participate in resolving workplace health and safety concerns.
  • refuse unsafe work.

All workers must:

  • work safely, using all required equipment correctly.
  • report hazards (and violations of workplace health and safety law) right away to their supervisor or employer.
  • use all required protective devices and wear all required protective gear. (It’s illegal to remove protective devices and to not wear required safety gear such as safety glasses, etc.)

Ask your working son or daughter about safety on the job:

  • What do you normally do at work?
  • Do you climb or work at heights?
  • Do you lift and carry heavy objects?
  • Has your employer provided workplace safety orientation training and information?
  • Do you know what protective equipment to wear and how to use it?
  • Do you work with chemicals? Have you been trained in their proper use?
  • Are you tired at work? (Full-time school, homework, social life and work together can cause fatigue, increasing the risk of injury at work and while driving.)
  • Does your supervisor work near you?
  • Does your supervisor provide on-the-job safety feedback?
  • Do you feel you can report safety concerns to your supervisor?
  • Do you know how to report workplace injuries?
  • Do you know about your rights and obligations under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act?

Encourage your son or daughter to:

  • Learn about his or her rights and obligations under the OHSA.
  • Ask prospective employers about workplace health and safety information and instruction.

It’s OK to say “No!” No job is worth risking life and limb!

Talk to your young son or daughter about job safety. Make sure he or she knows it’s OK to say “No!” to unsafe work — and that you will support that decision.

Call 1-877-202-0008 toll-free anytime to report critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals or other concerns. Call 8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, for general inquiries about workplace health and safety.

In an emergency, always call 911 immediately. (TTY: 1-855-653-9260)

Learn more:

Young Workers
Health and Safety

It's your job to ask about their safety at work.

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Parents: Is your son or daughter’s workplace fair?

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) sets minimum standards for things like pay, work hours and time off. Most workplaces in Ontario must follow this law and your kids’ rights are the same whether they work full-time or part-time. For detailed information on employment standards in Ontario, visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The Basics

1. Pay day

Your son or daughter should expect a regular pay day and a pay stub that is clear. Make sure he or she keeps a record of hours worked.

2. Deductions from wages

Some employers require staff to pay for their uniforms. Deductions from wages to pay for a uniform may be made only if the employee agrees in writing to have a specified amount deducted.

If a customer leaves without paying or your son or daughter’s error costs their employer money, that amount cannot be deducted from his or her wages.

3. Tips and other gratuities

Employers cannot withhold tips and other gratuities from employees or make deductions from their employees’ tips to cover things like spillage, breakage, losses or damage, etc. However, employers can make deductions from employees’ tips and other gratuities if it is authorized by statute or a court order, or if the amount will be distributed to other employees as part of a tip pool.

4. The Employment Standards Poster

The Employment Standards Poster describes important rights and requirements under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Employers are required to give every employee a copy of the poster.

5. What is work time?

Time spent in training that is required by the employer or by law counts as work time. If your son or daughter has to transport materials from the workplace to another job site, that is work time, too.

6. Can a worker be required to work on a public holiday?

If your son or daughter works in a hotel, motel, tourist resort, restaurant, tavern, hospital or an establishment with continuous operations, he or she may be required to work on a public holiday and may be entitled to premium pay for working that day.

7. Special rules

Some jobs have special standards or exemptions. To learn more, try our Special Rule Tool.

8. What’s my vacation pay?

For employees with less than five years of employment, vacation pay is at least 4% of wages (excluding vacation pay). Any vacation pay not already paid is owed to your son or daughter when his or her employment ends.

9. Is your son or daughter a "temp"?

Temporary employees generally have the same rights as other employees under the ESA.

Learn more:

Employment Standards
Young Workers
Employment Standards Tools

Employment Standards Information Centre

416-326-7160 (Greater Toronto Area)
1-800-531-5551 (Toll-free)
1-866-567-8893 (TTY for hearing impaired)

Information is available in multiple languages.

It's your job to see if they are being treated fairly.

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Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help you understand some of the rights and obligations established under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the ESA, OHSA or their regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information in this resource is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. The ESA provides minimum standards only. Some employees may have greater rights under an employment contract, collective agreement, the common law or other legislation.