You have rights at work.

Here is a list of resources regarding unpaid wages, records of employment, and penalties for violating the Employment Standards Act. (Note: your protections are not limited to the ESA. See: "Occupational Health and Safety Act" and "Ontario Human Rights Code".Feel free to print and share this page.


Note: "Act" or "ESA" refers to the Employment Standards Act of Ontario, Canada. Your province, territory, or state will have a set of policies just like this one—For more precise results, try Googling "employment standards" and the province or state that you live in.

Your Record of Employment

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), every employer has the obligation to issue a ROE to their employee within 5 days after the employee’s work separation. If an employer failed to issue the ROE, they could be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.Note: Your ROE can be uploaded electronically to Service Canada by your boss OR sent to you as a paper copy (you will then have to mail, drop off, or upload your paper ROE to MSCA)

Applying for Employment Insurance

Apply for Employment Insurance immediately after losing your job as it takes some time, especially if you are a first time applicant.Here is a list of things you will need to apply:

  • Your Social Insurance Number

  • The last name at birth of one of your parents

  • Your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes

  • Your banking information to sign up for direct deposit, including: financial institution name, bank branch (transit) number account number

  • Details about all employment in the past 52 weeks or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter. This includes: employer names, addresses, dates of employment and

  • Reason for separation (if you quit or were dismissed, you will need to provide your version of the facts)

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Unpaid Wages

Employers must establish a regular pay period and a regular pay day for employees.An employer has to pay all the wages earned in each pay period, other than vacation pay that is accruing, no later than the employee’s regular pay day for the period.If an employee’s employment ends, the employer must pay their outstanding wages, including vacation pay (plus any payments due to the employee because the employment has ended – see “Termination of employment” and “Severance pay” no later than:-seven days after the employment ends;
-on what would ordinarily have been the employee’s next regular pay day;
-whichever is later.
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How wages (including vacation pay) are paid.
An employer may pay wages, including vacation pay, by:
-direct deposit, which includes Interac e-Transfer, into the employee's account at a bank or other financial institution.
If payment is by cash or cheque, the employee must be paid the wages at the workplace or at some other place agreed to electronically or in writing by the employee.
If the wages are paid by direct deposit, the employee’s account must be their name. Nobody other than the employee can have access to the account unless the employee has authorized it.-Ontario Employment Standards Act-WagesBack to top.


Section 74 - Reprisal Prohibited
Prohibition - s. 74(1)
74(1) No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall intimidate, dismiss or otherwise penalize an employee or threaten to do so,
because the employee:
i. asks the employer to comply with this Act and the regulations,
ii. makes inquiries about his or her rights under this Act,iii. files a complaint with the Ministry under this Act,iv. exercises or attempts to exercise a right under this Act,v. gives information to an employment standards officer,v.1 makes inquiries about the rate paid to another employee for the purpose of determining or assisting another person in determining whether an employer is complying with Part XII (Equal Pay for Equal Work),v.ii discloses the employee’s rate of pay to another employee for the purpose of determining or assisting another person in determining whether an employer is complying with Part XII (Equal Pay for Equal Work)vi. testifies or is required to testify or otherwise participates or is going to participate in a proceeding under this Act,vii. participates in proceedings respecting a by-law or proposed by-law under section 4 of the Retail Business Holidays Act,viii. is or will become eligible to take a leave, intends to take a leave or takes a leave under Part XIV; orbecause the employer is or may be required, because of a court order or garnishment, to pay to a third party an amount owing by the employer to the employee.-Ontario Employment Standards ActNote: your employer is also prohibited from reprimanding you (or engaging in reprisal) for exercising the Occupational Health and Safety Ac and Ontario Human Rights Code.Back to top.

Penalty for Violating or Circumventing the Employment Standards Act

1. Compliance Order.
An ESA officer can order an employer or other person to stop contravening a provision and to take certain steps in order to comply with a provision. The order may also specify a date by which the employer or other person must comply with the order. These orders do not require payment of wages or compensation.
2. Order to pay.
An ESA officer can order an employer to pay an employee up to $ 10 000 for a violation of the ESA (and more in some cases)
3. Ticket, Notice of Contravention, or Prosecution.
An ESA officer can issue a ticket for less serious ESA violations. A ticket carries a set fine of $295, with a victim fine surcharge added to each set fine, plus court costs.
Alternatively, the fine for a notice of contravention is up to $1000. For some violations the fine is $250, $500, $1000 for the first, second, and third violation, respectively, in a three year period for each employeeFinally, an employer can be prosecuted and ordered to pay a fine, and/or imprisoned for contravening the ESA. An employer can be fined up to $100,000 for a first conviction. If an employer has already been convicted of an offence under the ESA, it can be fined up to $250,000 for a second conviction. For a third or subsequent conviction, an employer can be fined up to $500,000.
- Macleod Law Firm - Canada
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Remember: Your employer (or ex-employer) is not above the law.

For more help, check out a full list of tools @

Updated: September 8, 2023


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