What Are My Rights

In Ontario, we are fortunate to have a number of laws that protect our rights when applying for work and for when we are in the workplace.

Application Process

Employers are NOT allowed to screen applicants based on any of the grounds listed in the Canadian Human Rights Act. You are NOT required to provide any of the following on an application or in the interview; ho wever, you can if you wish:

  • Date and/or place of birth
  • Maiden (ie, pre-marriage) name
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Driver’s License
  • Medical history
  • Citizenship
  • Credit rating or financial history
  • Family status (e.g. married or single, children or none)
  • Religious or political affiliation

Pay

Minimum Wage: As of June 1, 2014, the Minimum wage in Ontario is:

  • General Minimum Wage (applies to most employees) - $11.00/hour
  • Student Minimum Wage - $10.30/hour
    (this rate applies to students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays )
  • Liqour Servers Minimum Wage - $9.55/hour
    This hourly rate applies to employees who serve liquor directly to customers or quests in licensed premises as a regular part of their work. “Licensed premises” are businesses for which a license or permit has been issued under the Liquor License Ac
  • Vacation Pay
    All employees are entitled to vacation time or vacation pay. Vacation pay is a minimum of 4% of the gross “wages” (excluding vacation pay
  • Travel Time and Training Time
    Travel time, time spent on mandatory training and, in some circumstances, commuting time are considered to be hours of work for minimum wage purposes

You have the right to a harassment-free and safe work environment

Harassment
Harassment means comments or actions that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. You have the right to be free from humiliating or annoying behaviour that is based on one or more Code grounds. Harassment requires a “course of conduct, ”which means that a pattern of behaviour or more than one incident is usually required. It does not matter what type of business it is or type of employment you have – harassing behaviour based on Code grounds in any employment setting is prohibited under the Code. Harassment in the Workplace is also prohibited by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Health and Safety
The Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) gives workers three important rights:

  • The right to know about hazards in their work in addition to gaining access to information, supervision, and instruction to protect their health and safety on the job
  • The right to participate in identifying and solving health and safety problems through a health and safety representative or member of a joint health and safety committee
  • The right to refuse work that they believe is dangerous to their health and safety or to any other worker in the workplace

What Should I Do if I Feel My Rights Are Being Violated?

In most situations, it is best to bring up any concerns directly with your supervisor in a non-confrontational manner. Outline your concerns in a clear and factual manner. Use I-statements. You can speak with someone in the Human Resources Department. If you work in a unionized environment, consider speaking with your representative for advice. If you cannot resolve the situation constructively, consider contacting one of the organizations listed on the reverse side of this tip sheet.

Your Bank Account and Your Identity

If an employer asks you to use your own money to purchase materials for sale or redistribution on the promise that they will transfer money to you at a later date, this opportunity may be fraudulent. You should never be asked to cash a cheque in your personal bank account on behalf of an employer, or to disclose your personal banking password.

You should not be asked to provide your passport, driver’s license, or similar identity information unless this identification is required for the position (i.e. positions that require driving may ask for a valid driver’s license). If you are an internatio nal student, you may be asked to show your valid work permit. We suggest you politely decline to provide information that an employer does not need in order to protect your identity. If you think your identity has been stolen, see www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Identity_Theft.aspx or call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you have concerns, check them out!

Please note: While every effort is made to avoid errors, employment laws change. This tip sheet is intended as an informational document only and is not intended to provide legal advice. For more information visit:

If you have any concerns about an employer who is advertising a position with the University of Toronto Career Learning Network, please contact the AA&CC.

Last update: September 2014