Employment regulations: hiring

It is important to know your obligations and opportunities when you hire people. This guide will help you familiarize yourself with employer regulations in Ontario and the resources that are available for employers.

Table of contents

The essentials
Regulations and standards
Reporting requirements
Tools and calculators
Other resources

The essentials

The following are regulations and requirements that every employer must follow when hiring employees:

Payroll account number

Under federal law, most employers  are required to collect, remit and report the following payroll deductions:

  • Employment Insurance Premiums
  • Canada Pension Plan
  • Contributions Personal Income Tax

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:
1-800-959-5525
Opening a Payroll Account

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

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:

  • help in returning your injured employees to the job
  • insurance benefits to cover lost earnings as a result of injury
  • no-fault insurance
  • prevention and training programs
  • protection from law suits

Contact WSIB:
1-800-387-0750
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Employer Health Tax (EHT)

You must pay EHT if your employees:

  • work at your permanent establishment in Ontario
  • are attached to your permanent establishment in Ontario, or
  • work elsewhere, but are paid through your permanent establishment in Ontario

You could be eligible for an EHT exemption on the first $450,000 (as of January 1st 2014) 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 $450,000 exemption for the whole associated group.

If you are a private sector employer (including a member of an associated group of employers) with total Ontario earnings of over $5 million you are not eligible for the exemption.

Contact the Ministry of Finance:
1-866-668-8297
EHT Guide for Employers

Workplace health and safety

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.

Read Online:
Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 
Workplace health and safety regulations

Regulations and standards

In addition to “the essentials,” there are several regulations and standards that will apply to you when you hire employees.

Employment standards

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:
1-800-531-5551
What You Should Know About The Ontario Employment Standards Act 
Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act

Hiring requirements

When you hire a new employee, you need to follow government hiring requirements:

  • Ensure that your recruitment and interviewing practices are not discriminatory
  • Create an employee record with basic information on your employee
  • Verify your employee's social insurance number (SIN)
  • Have your employee complete certain tax forms for payroll purposes

Read Online:
Hiring requirements

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

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 valid authorization to work in Canada.

Read Online:
Employers - What You Need To Know About Social Insurance Numbers (SIN)

Pay equity

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 reduce 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:
1-800-387-8813
Introduction to pay equity in Ontario

Workplace violence and workplace harassment

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.

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour:
1-800-531-5551
Workplace violence and workplace harassment
What Businesses Need to Know

Personal information protection

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:
1-800-282-1376
Privacy in the workplace

Hiring self-employed contractors

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:
1-800-959-5525
Employee or self-employed?

Legal questions

If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Law Society Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.

Use online:
Law Society Referral Service

Reporting requirements

Once you have successfully recruited employees, you will have reporting requirements for tax purposes and when employees stop working.

Filing an information return (T4)

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:
1-800-595-5525
Employers' Guide - Filing the T4 slip and summary

Record of employment (ROE)

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.

Use online:
ROE Web

For more information or to order paper copies of the ROE, speak with Service Canada directly.

Contact Service Canada:
1-800-367-5693
Employment Insurance (EI) Guide - How to Complete the Record of Employment (ROE) Form

Tools and calculators

There are a variety of online tools and calculators that can help you manage and understand your responsibilities as an employer.

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) workbook for employers

This online workbook for employers can help you understand your obligations and rights as an employer in Ontario.

Read Online:
Employment Standards Workbook

Steps to hire temporary foreign workers

If you are considering hiring a temporary foreign worker, there are requirements that you may need to meet.

Read online:
How to hire a temporary foreign worker (TFW)

The Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)

The IAPA offers information to help you learn about your legal responsibilities as an employer, and make your business compliant with health and safety legislation.

Use Online:
IAPA

Health and safety resources

To ensure that people in the workplace stay safe, the Ministry of Labour has created resources to help identify hazards in various sectors.

Use Online:
Topics and Publications: Health and Safety

Public holiday pay calculator

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.

Use Online:
Public holiday pay calculator

Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs

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.

Use Online:
Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs

Multimedia and recruitment tools

Employers can use these online resources to recruit and hire new Canadians for their business.

Use Online:
Multimedia and recruitment tools

Payroll deductions calculator

The Payroll Deductions Online Calculator (PDOC) calculates payroll deductions for all provinces (except for Quebec), and territories based on the information you provide.

Use Online:
Payroll Deductions Online Calculator

Other resources

Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA)

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:

  • resolve injury and insurance disputes early
  • get injured workers back on the job
  • share best practices of other successful employers

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.

Contact OEA:
1-800-387-0774
Office of the Employer Adviser

Employment and Social Development Canada – Labour Program

If you are a federally regulated employee or employer or a federal Crown Corporation, the Labour Program run by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC)) develops and administers the federal labour standards that define employment conditions in your place of work.

Read Online:
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 at 1-888-576-4444.