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Government of Canada Wage Earner Protection Program

Disclaimer

The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) was developed by the federal government to protect workers when employers become bankrupt or are subject to receivership.

Under the WEPP, employees may be entitled to a payment for unpaid wages, vacation pay, termination pay and severance pay that the employee earned or became entitled to in the last six months before a bankruptcy or receivership. If the employer attempted to restructure its business pursuant to certain provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act or the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the restructuring subsequently ends in a bankruptcy or receivership, the eligibility period starts six months before the restructuring and ends on the date of bankruptcy or receivership.

All inquiries regarding the WEPP, including how much you could receive and eligibility requirements, should be made to the Government of Canada through Service Canada. Call toll free at 1-866-683-6516 (TTY 1-800-926-9105). Additional information may be found on the Service Canada: Wage Earner Protection Program website.

How is WEPP differeo

WEPP is a separate, federally regulated program that compensates employees when their employer is subject to a formal bankruptcy or receivership. The Employment Standards Program is a Government of Ontario program that enforces the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).

Any questions about eligibility for WEPP payments should be directed to Service Canada.

If I think I am eligible for a payment through the WEPP, what do I do?

The trustee in bankruptcy or the court-appointed receiver acting for the employer will provide you with information about the WEPP. You should file a proof of claim with the trustee or receiver as soon as possible.

The trustee or receiver should send documentation on what you are owed to both you and Service Canada. You must then apply for payment online, or in person at a Service Canada location.

Any questions should be directed to Service Canada.

What is a proof of claim?

A proof of claim is a written statement that you submit to prove your claim. The trustee or receiver can help you complete the proof of claim form.

What are the timelines to apply?

Applications to the WEPP must be submitted to Service Canada within set timelines.

Any questions should be directed to Service Canada.

Can I file an employment standards claim with the Ministry of Labour if I have made a WEPP application?

Yes, the WEPP does not prohibit an employee from filing an employment standards claim with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.  However, if your wages are a claim provable in bankruptcy or there is a court-appointed receivership and the court has issued a stay of proceedings the Ministry of Labour is limited in the action it can take under the ESA.  In some cases, where the employer is a corporation, the Ministry of Labour may be able to find directors liable for certain unpaid wages determined owing under the ESA. Directors are not liable, however, for unpaid termination or severance pay under the ESA.

If you believe you are an employee and that your employment rights have been violated, you can file a claim with the Ministry of Labour:

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.