Know your rights.
If you are a permanent resident, you are allowed to work in Canada and do not have to apply for a work permit; however, if you are staying temporarily, you will need a temporary work permit. To find out more information on your individual requirements as either a permanent or temporary resident, visit Ontario Immigration Work Requirements. It is essential that you know your rights as an employee working in Ontario whether you are a permanent or temporary resident.

The Ministry of Labour has published the Employment Standards Act (ESA) outlining the rights of employees in Ontario. This crucial document details to whom the act applies, payment of wages, overtime, minimum wage, vacation, leaves of absence, and more crucial information that you need to know as an Ontario worker.

The ESA does not apply to students in work experience programs authorized by a school board, college, or university. It also provides you with important information about your employer; for example, employers cannot intimidate, fire, suspend, or otherwise punish an employee, or threaten any of these actions because the employee asks for or asks about their ESA rights. If an employee thinks that an employer is not following the ESA law, he or she can contact the Ministry of Labour for help.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. Its main purpose is to protect workers against health and safety hazards on the job. The Act establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily. The Ministry of Labour works closely with its agencies, safe workplace associations (SWAs), worker training centres and clinics, and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. For more information about these organizations and other sources of health and safety information, review this comprehensive list of occupational Health and Safety Resources.

As an Ontario worker, you have specific rights if your job is terminated either by being fired or laid off. If you are part of a union, refer to your collective agreement or contact your union representative to know your rights if your employment is terminated. A union is an organization of workers that bargains with employers to set conditions of employment, such as wages and severance packages. Know whether or not you qualify for severance, and for more information review these documents: Severance Pay and Employment Insurance.

Youth are the most likely demographic to be harassed at work. If this is your first job, educate yourself on your rights and what constitutes appropriate worker relationships. Learn how to recognize sexual harassment and know how to get help.