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


Keep new and young workers safe

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 by workplace parties.

Keep them safe!

New and young workers are much more likely to be injured on the job. Young workers — and new workers of any age – are often keen to learn and can bring new ideas and energy to your workplace. However, young workers often can’t recognize health and safety hazards and may hesitate to ask questions.

Under the OHSA, employers must:

  • Ensure that equipment, materials and protective devices are provided, maintained in good condition, and always used as required by law.
  • Ensure that workplace health and safety policies, programs, measures and procedures are current and always followed.
  • Provide ongoing information, instruction and supervision to protect workers.
  • Know the hazards in your workplace and make sure that workers and their supervisors are aware of them.
  • Assist, respond to, and cooperate with health and safety committees or representatives as required by law.
  • Comply with sector-specific minimum age requirements.

Supervisors’ obligations under the OHSA include the duty to:

  • Ensure that workers perform their jobs as prescribed by law, using the equipment and protective devices that are required by law and the employer.
  • Explain actual and potential, general and job-specific, workplace hazards.
  • Provide workers with written measures and procedures for their protection where required by law.

Be a leader in workplace health and safety! Encourage these best practices:

  • Include health and safety in your company’s strategic plan.
  • Show your commitment to health and safety with your own consistent, safe work practices — and emphasize that unsafe work practices are unacceptable.
  • Reinforce your company’s health and safety priorities in all workplace communications.
  • Encourage all workers to alert their supervisors immediately if they see something that endangers their safety.
  • Introduce new workers to the Health and Safety Manager, Joint Health and Safety Committee members or Health and Safety Representative.
  • Arrange for experienced workers to coach new workers.
  • Encourage supervisors to periodically take young workers on health and safety inspections to check for hazards and unsafe work practices.
  • Encourage new and young workers to come forward with ideas and suggestions.

Bottom line

Employers and supervisors play a vital role in the safety of everyone in your workplace. Be a role model for new and young workers starting out. Be a leader in workplace health and safety.

Call 1-877-202-0008 toll-free anytime to report critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals or other concerns. Call 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 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 maintain a safe and healthy workplace.

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Treat new and young workers fairly

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 employee rights are the same whether you work full-time or part-time. For detailed information on Employment Standards in Ontario, visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Fairness for all workers

1. 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.

2. Working time, rest and eating periods

There are limits to the number of hours employees can be required or allowed to work. They are also entitled to a certain number of hours free from work and to eating periods. Overtime is payable after 44 hours in most jobs. Overtime pay is at least 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.

3. Payday

Employees should have a regular pay period and payday. They should also receive a wage statement (pay stub) that includes gross and net wage, pay period and wage rate, if applicable. Deductions, such as EI, CPP and taxes must be noted.

4. Minimum wage

Most employees are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. A general minimum wage applies to most employees. There are different minimum wages for students, liquor servers, homeworkers, wilderness guides and hunting and fishing guides. To find out the current minimum wages visit Minimum Wage.

5. 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.

6. Public holidays

There are nine public holidays in Ontario. Generally, employees may have these days off work with public holiday pay.

7. When a job ends

After working continuously for three months, most employees must receive advance notice in writing and/or termination pay when you end their employment. The amount of notice depends on how long they have worked for you.

Although you need not provide a reason for ending an employee’s employment, it cannot be in reprisal for things such as asking about Employment Standards rights or refusal to work in excess of the daily and weekly hours of work maximums.

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 follow the Employment Standards Act.

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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.