The Employment Standards Act is the law that contains basic rules about employing people and working. Both employees and employers have rights and
responsibilities under the Act.
Does the Act cover all employees in Ontario?
Most employees are covered by the provincial legislation. However, employees working in industries that fall under Federal jurisdiction, such as, Post office, Banks, Railways, Radio stations, Airlines, Television stations etc. are not covered.
If you are currently employed with the company, you may be able to file a claim with a request that your name not be disclosed. The Act protects you when you are exercising your rights under it.
Section 12.1 of the Act states:
On or before the day on which the employer is required to pay wages under subsection 11(5), the employer shall provide the employee with a written statement setting out,
. (a) the gross amount of any termination pay or severance pay being paid
to the employee;
. (b) the gross amount of any vacation pays being paid to the employee;
manner, how the amounts referred to in clauses (a) and (b) were
. (d) the pay period for which any wages other than wages described in
clauses (a) and (b) are being paid;
. (e) the wage rate, if there is one;
. (f) the gross amount of any wages referred to the clause (d) and unless, the
information is provided to the employee in some other manner, how
that amount was calculated;
. (g) the amount and purpose of each deduction from wages;
. (h) any amount with respect to room or board that is deemed to have been
paid to the employee under subsection 23(2); and
. (i) the net amount of wages being paid to the employee.
This section clarifies what information an employer must provide to the employee when he or she is terminated. This information should be provided on or before the employer is required to pay wages to the employee under section 11(5) of the Act. It also requires the employer to provide details of how the gross amount for termination pay, severance pay, vacation pay and any other wages in addition to those amounts was calculated, unless the information is provided in some other way by the employer.
If you or the employer disagrees with the investigating officer’s decision, both parties have a right to appeal to Ontario Labour Relations Board within 30 days of the officer’s decision. The Board appoints a referee to hear the appeal. It does not cost the employee to request an appeal but the employer may be required to deposit monies in trust with the Ministry of Labour if it is found to be owing. The referee decision is final and binding on both parties.
In the past, the Ministry was very aggressive in defending the rights of an employee and would send a legal counsel to represent the employee at the Board’s hearing to deal with the matter. It rarely does so now. Obviously, the employer has advantage over the employee in these circumstances. The question arises, should the employee also engage the services of a professional? It is my view, employee’s may not engage such services at the officer’s level hearing but may do so at the at the referee level hearing, particularly, if the issues are complex.
It is important that if a hearing has been scheduled, the employee must attend such a hearing to present evidence to support its position or to contest the employer’s evidence, otherwise, the officer or the referee may rely on the evidence of the employer to render a decision.
This information is provided for guidance only and should not be considered as a legal advice.
This article is provided by Rajinder K. Batra, who is a retired Employment Standards Officer with the Ministry of Labour with 15 years experience in these matters.