Legal Information - Employment FAQ's

 

Q:  My employer did not pay my wages. How can I get my wages?

 

A: Most Ontario workers are protected by the Employment Standards Act. If your employer violates the Employment Standards Act, e.g. by not paying your wages, then you can file a claim with the Ontario Ministry of Labour. With some exceptions, you must file a claim within 2 years of the date your wages became due (for wages that became payable after February 20, 2015). You can find the claim form online at www.labour.gov.on.ca or by calling the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time for the Ministry of Labour to process and investigate your claim. It can take up to a year for the Ministry of Labour to process your claim.


Q:  Can my employer fire me for no reason?

A:  Yes and no. An employer can fire a non-unionized worker for any reason as long as the reason does not violate the Human Rights Code. However, if an employer does fire a worker without just cause, the employer must give the worker advance notice that the employer plans to fire the worker at a future date (exact date must be given). If the employer wants to fire the worker without giving advance notice, then the employer must give the worker pay equivalent to the amount of notice he or she should have received.

How much notice a worker should receive depends on how long he or she worked for the employer. According to the Employment Standards Act, the minimum notice or pay in lieu of notice (termination pay) that a worker should receive is as follows:

  • More than 3 months, less than 1 year worked = 1 week’s notice OR 1 week’s wages
  • More than 1 year, less than 3 years worked = 2 weeks’ notice OR 2 weeks’ wages
  • More than 3 year, less than 4 years worked = 3 weeks’ notice OR 3 weeks’ wages
  • And so on up to 8 weeks maximum for 8 or more years worked.

Workers who meet very specific criteria can also receive severance pay in addition to the above notice.

Please note that a worker who is fired for wilful misconduct is not entitled to any notice or pay in lieu of notice. For example, an employer can fire a worker who steals without giving him or her any notice or pay in lieu of notice.


 

Q:  Can I receive more notice than what is stated in the Employment Standards Act?

A: Yes. The Employment Standards Act only states the minimum notice a worker should receive. A wrongfully dismissed worker who believes that he or she should receive more than the minimum notice can sue his or her former employer for more.

 

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