Employees are the lifeblood of your business, and it is important to know your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring people. This guide will help you familiarize yourself with employer regulations in Ontario and the resources that are available for employers.
The following are regulations and requirements that every employer must follow when hiring employees:
Under federal law, most employers are required to collect, remit and report the following payroll deductions:
As an employer, you must follow a number of steps for managing your staff payroll, such as opening a payroll account number, getting key information from new employees, calculating and remitting deductions, and keeping proper records.
Contact the Canada Revenue Agency:
Opening a Payroll Account
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is dedicated to helping you prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
Most employers are required to register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring an employee.
The benefits of registration include:
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
You must pay EHT if your employees:
You could be eligible for an EHT exemption on the first $400,000 of your payroll if you are a private sector employer or an employer that receives funding from any level of government but are not controlled by government.
Eligible associated employers can claim only one $400,000 exemption for the whole associated group.
Contact the Ontario Ministry of Finance:
EHT Guide for Employers
Almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario is covered by occupational health and safety regulations. As an employer in Ontario, you have a number of obligations, including a duty to instruct, inform and supervise your workers to protect their health and safety.
In addition to “The Essentials,” there are several regulations and standards that will apply to you when you hire employees.
To ensure that employees are treated fairly, the federal and provincial governments have established employment standards. Some of the most common standards that may apply to your business include:
Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour:
What You Should Know About The Ontario Employment Standards Act
Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act
When you hire a new employee, you need to follow government hiring requirements:
New employees must produce a SIN card within 3 days of being hired. As an employer, you are obligated to ensure that anyone hired with a SIN beginning with "9" has a valid authorization to work in Canada.
If you employ ten or more people, your business must pay your male and female employees the same salary for equal or comparable work.
Pay equity was made law to narrow the wage gap that exists between women's and men's wages that was due to the undervaluing of work traditionally done by women.
The law requires the value of jobs usually done by women be compared to the value of jobs usually done by men. Female jobs, which are found to be of equal or comparable value to male jobs, must be paid at least the same.
Contact the Pay Equity Commission at:
Introduction to Pay Equity in Ontario
Your employees should be able to enjoy a workplace that is free of violence and harassment. Resources and information are available to help you ensure that your business provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees.
As an employer you are responsible for safeguarding your employees’ personal information. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s guide to Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) helps businesses understand their obligations and comply with regulations.
Contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada:
Information for Organizations
Before you hire a self-employed contractor, find out if the government considers the relationship to be that of an employer to employee, or of a business to self-employed contractor.
Contact the Canada Revenue Agency:
Employee or Self-employed?
If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer, based on your needs.
Contact the Law Society of Upper Canada:
Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service
Once you have successfully recruited employees, you will have reporting requirements for tax purposes and when employees stop working.
An information return is the T4 slip and the T4 Summary form used to report salary, wages, tips or gratuities, bonuses, vacation pay, employment commissions, and all other remuneration employers pay to employees during the year.
Employers must file an annual information return with the Canada Revenue Agency and give information slips to employees. The slips must be provided to employees by the last day of February following the calendar year to which the information return applies.
Contact the Canada Revenue Agency:
Employers' Guide - Filing the T4 Slip and Summary Form 2003
Employers are required to complete an ROE whenever an employee stops working. An ROE must be issued within 5 calendar days of an interruption of earnings (e.g., parental leave, dismissal), or the day the employer becomes aware of the interruption, whichever is later.
Record of Employment on the Web (ROE Web), allows you to create, edit, submit, view and print ROEs for your departing employees. By managing your ROE needs online you no longer need to order, store or mail in paper copies of ROEs.
For more information or to order paper copies of the ROE, speak with Service Canada directly.
Contact Service Canada:
Employment Insurance (EI) Guide - How to Complete the Record of Employment (ROE) Form
There are a variety of online tools and calculators that can help you manage and understand your responsibilities as an employer.
This online workbook for employers can help you understand your obligations and rights as an employer in Ontario.
If you are considering hiring a temporary foreign worker, there are requirements that you may need to meet.
How to Hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW)
The IAPA offers a free online questionnaire to help you learn about your legal responsibilities as an employer, and make your business compliant with health and safety legislation. The questionnaire covers topics ranging from providing first aid, reporting illness and injury, and appointing health and safety representatives to dealing with hazardous materials and equipment in the workplace.
IAPA Legislative Compliance Questionnaire
To ensure that people in the workplace stay safe, the Ministry of Labour has created tools to help identify hazards in various sectors.
Health and Safety Tools
This online tool can help you calculate how much you will need to pay your employees for holidays, based on Ontario’s nine public holidays.
Public Holiday Pay Calculator
Find information, tools, and assessments to help you develop a workplace violence policy and program, a workplace harassment policy and program, or a domestic violence program.
Employers can use these online resources to recruit and hire new Canadians for their business.
Multimedia and Recruitment Tools
The Payroll Deductions Online Calculator (PDOC) calculates payroll deductions for all provinces (except for Quebec), and territories based on the information you provide.
Payroll Deductions Online Calculator
Canada Business can help you find information on managing relationships with your employees, and learn about your ongoing responsibilities regarding things like payroll, pension, taxes, compensation, health and safety.
The Ontario Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) can offer you free expert and confidential advice and training on workplace safety and insurance issues in your business.
OEA can also help you:
If you are an employer with less than 100 employees, OEA can represent and intervene on your behalf at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.
Office of the Employer Adviser
For more information on hiring, or managing staff, you can also read the following Canada Business Guides.
Additional resources that may help employers include:
If you are a federally regulated employee or employer or a federal Crown Corporation, the Labour Program develops and administers the federal labour standards that define employment conditions in your place of work.
Labour Program - Employment Standards
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us through the Business Info Line at 1-888-745-8888.
Information contained in this document is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific situation. Users concerned about the reliability of the information should consult directly with the source, or seek legal counsel.
Some of the organizations listed above are not subject to the federal Official Languages Act or the French Language Services Act of Ontario. Their services may not be available in both official languages.