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Steps to filing an Employment Standards Claim

Step 1: Collect and keep important documents

Completing the Claim Form may be easier if you have the relevant documents with you. If you do not have the documents, do the best you can to fill out the Claim Form with as much detail as possible – you do not have to have these documents in order to file a claim.

Here is a list of the employment standard contraventions and some documents that may be helpful when completing your claim. These documents can also help with the claim investigation. Keep these documents but do not send the documents to us until requested.

Possible reasons for filing a claim

These are the types of employment standard contraventions that a claim can be submitted for under the ESA:

Regular pay
You are claiming your employer owes you wages that you earned during your normal hours of work but not including overtime pay, vacation pay, public holiday pay or tips and other gratuities.
Overtime pay
You are claiming your employer owes you for overtime that you worked.
Public holidays / public holiday pay
You are claiming your employer did not give you the time off for a public holiday or you are claiming your employer owes you public holiday pay and / or premium pay.
Minimum wage
You are claiming your employer did not pay you the minimum wage.
Vacation pay / vacation time
You are claiming your employer owes you vacation pay or that your employer did not provide you with vacation time off.
Tips and other gratuities
You are claiming that your tips were deducted, withheld, you were required to give them to your employer or that you did not receive all or part of a tip pool.
Limits on hours of work: eating periods, excess daily or weekly hours, rest periods between days / shifts
You are claiming that you worked excess hours and/or you did not receive rest periods.
Unauthorized deductions from wages, tips and other gratuities
You are claiming your employer took money from your pay that should not have been taken.
Termination pay
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with the required amount of written notice of termination or termination pay instead of notice.
Severence pay
You are claiming that your employment was severed and your employer owes you severance pay. Generally, employees may be entitled to severance pay only if they have been employed for five years or more, and their employer has an annual payroll of $2.5 million.
Termination of assignment pay
You are claiming a temporary help agency did not provide you with at least one week’s written notice or pay in lieu when an assignment scheduled to last longer than 3 months was terminated early.
Temporary help agency fee
You are claiming a Temporary Help Agency charged fees that it should not have charged.
Temporary help agency did not provide required information
You are claiming a Temporary Help Agency stopped a client from hiring you, or an agency prevented a client from providing you with a reference.
Reprisal by the employer (which includes a temporary help agency)
You are claiming your employer threatened or punished you because you exercised or attempted to exercise a right under the ESA.
Reprisal by the client business of the temporary help agency
You are claiming the client business threatened or punished you because you exercised or attempted to exercise a right under the ESA.
Pregnancy leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with a pregnancy leave of up to 17 weeks unpaid time off work.
Parental leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with a parental leave of up to 61 or 63 weeks of unpaid time off work.
Personal emergency leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with up to 10 days due to illness, injury and certain other emergencies and urgent matters. Most employees are entitled to receive pay for the first two days of the leave. The remaining eight days are unpaid.
Family medical leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with an unpaid leave of up to 28 weeks to provide care to a specified family member where a doctor has issued a certificate indicating that he or she has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.
Family caregiver leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to provide care or support to a specified family member with a serious medical condition.
Critical illness leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care to a critically ill child who is a family member and/or up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care to a critically ill adult who is a family member.
Crime related child disappearance leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with an unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks for a child that is missing as a probable result of a crime.
Child death leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with an unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks if your child has died.
Domestic or sexual violence leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide you with a leave of up to 10 days and/or 15 weeks to seek medical attention or professional counselling/services, to relocate, seek legal or law enforcement services, or obtain victim services due to domestic or sexual violence against you or your child. Employees are entitled to receive pay for the first five days of the leave, and the rest of the leave is unpaid.
Organ donor leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide an unpaid leave up to 13 weeks, for the purpose of undergoing surgery to donate all or part of certain organs to a person.
Reservist leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide an unpaid leave to you as a military reservist who was deployed to an operation.
Declared emergency leave
You are claiming your employer did not provide an unpaid leave because of an emergency declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Misclassification as an independent contractor, intern, volunteer or any other type of worker not covered by the ESA
You are claiming your employer does not believe you are an employee but you think you are covered by the ESA.

Employment Standards Contravention

Regular pay, overtime pay, public holidays/ public holiday pay, or minimum wage

Do you have these documents?

  • Pay stubs for the period(s) you believe you are owed wages.
  • Pay cheques, including those that have "bounced", or are "NSF" ("non-sufficient funds").
  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.

Vacation pay/ vacation time

Do you have these documents?

  • Pay stubs for the periods you believe you are owed vacation pay and/or any pay stubs that show payment of vacation pay.
  • Pay cheques, including those that have "bounced", or are "NSF" ("non-sufficient funds").
  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • T4 Slips. This document is used for income tax purposes to show exactly how much money you made while working and any deductions that were made.
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.
  • Record of Employment form. This federal document shows your work history with your employer.

Tips and other gratuities

Do you have these documents?

  • Copies of bills or credit card receipts indicating tips and other gratuities.
  • Any contracts or documents that set out tip pooling policies or practices.
  • Any other records you may have kept indicating tips and other gratuities you earned.

Unauthorized deductions from wages, tips and other gratuities

Do you have these documents?

  • Pay stubs for the periods you believe there were deductions from your pay cheque.
  • Pay cheques showing deductions from your pay.
  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • Written authorizations, if there are any.
  • Copies of bills, credit card receipts or other documents indicating tips and other gratuities.
  • Any contracts or documents that set out tip pooling policies or practices.

Termination pay or severance pay

Do you have these documents?

  • Pay stubs showing your weekly rate of pay.
  • Any documentation about length of assignment(s) from the temporary help agency or client.
  • Written notice of termination of assignment.
  • Pay cheques, including those that have "bounced", or are "NSF" ("non-sufficient funds").
  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.
  • Record of Employment form. This federal document shows your work history with your employer.
  • Written notice of termination, if received.
  • Any warning letters or notices received.

Temporary help agency charged a prohibited fee

Do you have these documents?

  • Pay stubs where fees have been charged.
  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.
  • Any receipts, invoices, or cancelled cheques relating to fees charged by the Temporary Help Agency.

Temporary help agency did not provide required information

Do you have these documents?

  • Any information provided by the agency concerning the agency, relevant work and/or ESA rights.

Temporary help agency restricted the client from hiring you or providing you with references

Do you have these documents?

  • Any warning letters or notices received.
  • Any notes you kept from discussions with the Client or the Temporary Help Agency about hiring you for the job.

Limits on hours of work (eating periods, excess daily or weekly hours, rest periods between days/shifts)

Do you have these documents?

  • Records of the hours you have worked (for example, timesheets, attendance records, calendar, diary, or notes).
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.

Leaves of absence

Do you have these documents?

  • Documents related to a leave of absence.
  • Written contract of employment, if there is one.
  • Record of Employment form. This federal document shows your work history with your employer.
  • Any warning letters or notices received.
  • Any written notice or written plan you provided the employer.
  • For family caregiver leave, family medical leave and/or critical illness leave, you may use the Ministry’s “Medical Certificate to Support Entitlement” found at the following link: Ontario.ca/ESAforms

Reprisal by the employer (which includes a temporary help agency)

Do you have these documents?

  • Written notice of termination, if received.
  • Any warning letters or notices received.
  • Time sheets or other records that show changes in your hours of work or shifts.

Reprisal by the client business of the temporary help agency

Do you have these documents?

  • Written contract of employment, if there is one, or any agreements with the employer (for example, relating to method of payment, place of work, hours of work, job description, or any other condition or term).
  • Pay stubs.
  • Work schedules or task lists.
  • Business cards.
  • Invoices to or from the employer.

Step 2: Fill out the Claim Form

  • The Claim Form asks you to give a lot of detailed information. It may take you an hour or more to complete it.
  • It is important to fill in the Claim Form as best you can. The basic information we need from you is marked by asterisks (*). Missing information may cause a delay in processing your claim.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question marked with an asterisk, you must record "unknown." If the question does not apply to your situation, you must record "not applicable" or "n/a."
  • Providing complete and accurate information for all other fields ensures that your claim will be processed in a timely manner.
  • The Ministry of Labour will try to contact you if certain information is missing.

Step 3: Submit your claim and receive a claim number

We recommend that you file your claim online at the Ministry of Labour website. To access the Claim Form online visit Ontario.ca/ESAforms.

If you file your claim online, you will immediately receive your claim number and a letter that confirms that you filed a claim.  You will be able to print and/or save a copy of your claim and confirmation of filing a claim letter.

You may also file your claim:

By fax at 1-888-252-4684.

By mail to:

Provincial Claims Centre
Ministry of Labour
70 Foster Drive, Suite 410
Roberta Bondar Place
Sault Ste. Marie ON P6A 6V4

Note: If you file your claim by fax or by mail, we will send you a letter with your claim number.

Please file your claim only once.

What happens after you file your claim?

Your claim will be reviewed to ensure that you have provided all required information. Once your claim has been processed, it will be assigned for investigation.

Once your claim is assigned, the investigating officer will contact you. Claims are investigated in the order in which they are received.

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Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help employees and employers understand some of the minimum rights and obligations established under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the ESA or 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. Employers and employees may wish to obtain legal advice.