Understand your employment contract

Understand your employment contract

An employment contract is a legal document/agreement that both you and the employer sign. It includes different features of employee and employer relationship based on the position itself, the organization’s policies and procedures, and the laws governing it, such as: salary; the employee and the employer’s responsibilities and rights;  vacation time; sick time; termination; duration of the contract; names of the parties, the date when the contract begins, etc. In Ontario, the relationship is governed by several statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

When you accept a job, you enter into an agreement with your employer. Both parties agree to fulfill the terms of the contract, and the law protects you and the employer. It is important to read the contract carefully. When you sign an employment contract, make sure you agree with everything in it. Keep a copy of your contract in case you  need it for  future reference.

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) is a law in Ontario that protects workers' rights. Areas covered include minimum wage, hours of work, termination of employment, public holidays, vacation, pregnancy and parental leave, severance pay, and other standards.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) - As a worker in Ontario, you also have the health and safety rights. The main purpose of the Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. It outlines general health and safety regulations workplaces MUST follow.

3 Fundamental Rights of Employees in Canada

  • The right to know or the right to be informed about, actual and potential dangers in the workplace
  • The right to participate in the workplace health and safety activities through the Health and Safety Committee (HSC) or as a worker health and safety representative
  • The right to refuse unsafe work that is dangerous to themselves or to co-workers

You can not be disciplined for exercising these rights

Ontario's Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific social areas such as jobs, housing, services, facilities, and contracts or agreements.


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