Ontario Labour Laws

The Ontario labour laws include both labour law and employment law. These labour laws have been legislated to govern the labour relations environment in the province and to protect workers in Ontario.

The principal labour laws in Ontario are:

  • the Canada Labour Code covering federal workers;
  • the Labour Relations Act of Ontario which covers labour law;
  • Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) which covers employment law; and
  • Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Since these labour laws of Ontario have been passed in order to protect workers, it is the responsibility of all workers to learn about these legislations which have been enacted to protect their rights as workers, and to ensure that employers provide them with a safe working environment.

Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000

The Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) which covers employment law, is the principal act protecting the majority of workers in the province. It describes the minimum terms of employment. It also explains the rights of most employees, as well as the requirements that most employers in Ontario have to comply with.

The employment Standards Act, 2000, deals with workplace issues such as, wage issues, wrongful dismissals, human rights, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and religious discrimination, etc.

The reason that the Employment Standards Act 2000 does not apply to all employers and employees, is that some employers and employees fall under federal jurisdiction, while those in unionized work places are regulated under the Labour Relations Act of Ontario.

NOTE: Employees who work in a non-union, and/or a non-federal workplace in Ontario are regulated under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). This is the legislation that you would refer to if you have a complaint regarding wages, hours of work, vacations, and overtime, etc.

The Canada Labour Code

Those employers and employees, throughout Canada, who fall under federal jurisdiction are regulated under the Canada Labour Code. The following industries are regulated under the Canada Labour Code: the federal civil service, post offices, radio and television stations, railways, airlines, and banks.

The Labour Relations Act 1995 of Ontario

In Ontario the Labour Relations Act 1995, governs the relationships between employers and their employees who are being represented by a union.

Note: If you work in a unionized workplace, the Ontario Labour Relations Board regulates all issues dealing with working conditions and wages. So, if you have complaints related to working conditions, and wages you can contact the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Since October 1, 1979, the Occupational Health and Safety Act has held the responsibility to protect workers against health and safety hazards on the job.

The OHSA outlines the overall responsibilities of the employers for the health and safety of employees at work. It also outlines the responsibilities of workers to help keep themselves and those they work with healthy and safe.

Summary of Ontario Labour Laws

Here is a summary list of the Ontario labour laws governing employment in the province:

  • Canada Labour Code
  • Ministry of Labour Act
  • Rights of Labour Act
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Occupational Health and Safety Law
  • Ontario Employers and Employees Act
  • Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Law
  • The Public Sector Transition Stability Act, 1997, or Bill 136 (2 parts)
    1. Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997 (PSLRTA)
    2. Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997
  • Ontario's Colleges Collective Bargaining Law
  • The Ontario Pay Equity Law
  • Pay Equity FAQ
  • Pension Benefits Law of Ontario
  • Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993
  • Ontario's Social Contract Act, 1993
  • Agricultural Employees Protection Law
  • Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act
  • Ontario's Public Service Law
  • Education Act
  • Ontario's Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, 2001
  • Police Services Law

For more on Ontario labour laws see the Ontario Labour Relations page.