Employment standards

To ensure that employees are treated fairly, the federal and provincial governments have established employment standards regarding:

  • Minimum wage
  • Annual vacations and other types of leave
  • Public (statutory) holidays
  • Hours of work, including standard hours, overtime and emergency requirements

Certain industries fall under federal regulations, while others must comply with provincial or territorial employment standards. If your employees are unionized, there may be additional standards set out in their collective agreement that go above and beyond what is required by law.

Table of Contents

    Federally regulated industries

    If your business is in a federally regulated industry, you need to comply with federal employment standards. The industry sectors that are regulated federally are:

    • Banks
    • Marine shipping, ferry and port services
    • Air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines
    • Railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
    • Canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
    • Telephone, telegraph and cable systems
    • Radio and television broadcasting
    • Grain elevators, feed and seed mills
    • Uranium mining and processing
    • Businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource
    • Many First Nation activities
    • Most federal crown corporations
    • Private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

    General information on employment standards

    These documents provide general information on all aspects of labour standards.

    Canada

    Alberta

    • Alberta employment standards
      Only Applies to : Alberta
      Find rules regarding wages, hours of work, overtime, vacations and other leave, termination of employment, and employees under 18 years of age.
    • Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers
      Only Applies to : Alberta
      If you are an employer in Alberta, find out how to comply with the Employment Standards Code and Regulation.

    British Columbia

    • Employment Standards Self-Help
      Only Applies to : British Columbia
      Use this kit as a first step to solve workplace disputes between you and your employees without intervention from the Employment Standards Branch.
    • BC Employment Standards Information and Forms
      Only Applies to : British Columbia
      If you are an employer in British Columbia, find out the information you need to comply with the Employment Standards Act.

    Manitoba

    • Employment Standards (Manitoba)
      Only Applies to : Manitoba
      Be aware of your responsibilities as an employer in regards to minimum wage, keeping records, termination, hours of work and leave.

    New Brunswick

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    Northwest Territories

    • Northwest Territories Employment Standards
      Only Applies to : Northwest Territories
      If you own a business you need to be aware of your responsibilities in regards to minimum wage, leave, holidays, overtime and wage deductions.

    Nova Scotia

    • Guide to the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      Find information on a number of labour standards topics, from overtime rules to notice requirements when an employee quits.
    • Employment rights
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      You and your employees have rights under Nova Scotia's Labour Standards Code. Learn the details.

    Ontario

    Prince Edward Island

    • Employment standards
      Only Applies to : Prince Edward Island
      As an employer on Prince Edward Island, you need to be aware of the employment regulations that affect your employees and your business operation.

    Quebec

    • Normes du travail du Québec
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      If you are an employer, you must familiarize yourself with and comply with Quebec labour standards and the acts and regulations governing them.
    • Human resources (Quebec)
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Keep informed of your rights and responsibilities when hiring and managing employees, as well as when their employment ends.(in French only)
    • Events not covered by a labour standard
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Learn about situations where the Labour Standards Act makes no provision for leave, paid or unpaid, for an employee wishing to take time off.

    Saskatchewan

    Yukon

    • Employment Standards (Yukon)
      Only Applies to : Yukon
      Understand your responsibility towards your employees concerning hours of work, vacation entitlement, and various types of leave.

    Sector-specific employment standards

    Canada

    • Federal construction contracts
      Learn about the labour conditions and wage requirements that you must meet in order to win construction contracts with the federal government.

    Manitoba

    Ontario

    Saskatchewan

    Wages and payroll

    As an employer, you are required to pay your employees at least the minimum wage established for your province or territory. For most occupations, there is one hourly minimum wage that applies. However, there are some exceptions for young workers and people in specific occupations. When paying your employees, you will also need to take off taxes and other deductions and remit them to the government.

    To find out more about wages and payroll requirements, browse these resources:

    Canada

    Manitoba

    Northwest Territories

    • Northwest Territories Payroll Tax
      Only Applies to : Northwest Territories
      If you are an employer in the Northwest Territories, you need to register with the Department of Finance within the first 21 days of your first payroll cycle.

    Nova Scotia

    • Pay and wages (Nova Scotia)
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      Do you have questions about minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay? Learn all about pay regulations here.

    Ontario

    • A Guide To Interpreting Ontario's Pay Equity Act
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      Did you know if you employ 10 or more people, your business must pay your male and female employees the same salary for equal or comparable work?
    • Minimum wage in Ontario
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      Find out about minimum wage regulations and make sure you are paying your employees the right rate.

    Quebec

    • Source deductions and contributions
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Find out all you need to know about payroll deductions and employer/employee contributions, as well as the procedures to be followed.
    • monCalcul
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Calculate the benefit amount to which your employees are legally entitled for common situations such as vacation days, statutory holidays and overtime pay.
    • Guide for employers: Source deductions and contributions
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Obtain information on the source deductions that you must make when you have paid employees.

    Saskatchewan

    Hours of work and overtime

    There are provincial and territorial standards that set out the number of hours an employee can be required to work per day and per week. The standards on hours of work also set out rules for meals and break periods. These standards apply to most employees and most situations. However, there are some exceptions and specific rules for overtime, emergencies and certain professions or job functions.

    Canada

    Nova Scotia

    • Breaks, period of rest (Nova Scotia)
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      Find out everything you need to know about Nova Scotia regulations on hours of work, break requirements, the right for employees to refuse unsafe work, and more.

    Ontario

    • Hours of work (Ontario)
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      Find out about the requirements for hours of work and overtime pay for your employees.

    Quebec

    • Overtime
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Learn about the requirements for hours of work and overtime pay for your employees.

    Public holidays

    In most cases, you will need to pay your employees for public holidays. The list of public holidays and the specific rules regarding public holidays are set out in provincial and territorial labour standards.

    Canada

    Nova Scotia

    Ontario

    Quebec

    • Statutory holidays
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Learn about the paid leave and statutory holiday payments to which your employees are entitled.

    Vacation and other types of personal leave

    As an employer, you will also have to follow provincial and territorial labour standards relating to personal leave. The types of leave and exact terms used to describe them vary across the country, but generally include: vacation leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and leave to take care of sick family members.

    Canada

    Nova Scotia

    • Leaves from work (Nova Scotia)
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      Find out about your obligations under the Nova Scotia Labour Code with regard to unpaid leaves of absence such as pregnancy, bereavement, and sick leave.

    Ontario

    • Family Medical Leave (Ontario)
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      Learn what your responsibilities are as an employer, when providing employees with family medical leave.
    • Personal emergency leave
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      Learn what your responsibilities are as an employer when providing employees with personal emergency leave.
    • Vacation Time and Pay (Ontario)
      Only Applies to : Ontario
      This document will help you understand your responsibilities with regard to providing vacation time for your employees in Ontario.

    Quebec

    • Vacation entitlement and pay
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Learn about your responsibilities regarding the granting of vacation time to your Quebec employees.

    Maternity and parental leave

    All provinces and territories in Canada give employees the right to take leave from work when they become parents. The exact amount and type of leave to which employees are entitled may vary slightly by province or territory.

    In addition to being able to take time off, your employees may be eligible for benefits through the Employment Insurance Program (for all provinces/territories except Quebec) or the Quebec Parental Insurance Program.

    EI and QPIP benefits only cover a portion of your employee's usual salary when on leave. As an employer, you can choose to add to those benefits. While this is not required, offering additional maternity or parental leave benefits, like other types of benefits offered by employers, can help you recruit and retain top talent.

    You need to issue your employee a Record of Employment at the beginning of the leave period.

    Canada

    Nova Scotia

    • Leaves from work (Nova Scotia)
      Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
      Find out about your obligations under the Nova Scotia Labour Code with regard to unpaid leaves of absence such as pregnancy, bereavement, and sick leave.

    Ontario

    Quebec

    • Québec Parental Insurance Plan
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Like your employees, you may be eligible for workers' benefits for maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave.

    Saskatchewan

    • Family leave (Saskatchewan)
      Only Applies to : Saskatchewan
      As an employer in Saskatchewan, know your obligations concerning family-related leave such as maternity, adoption and parental leave.
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