It’s crucial to know your rights in the workplace and to stay up-to-date on employment laws. There are some changes and adjustments to be aware of in 2021.
As a working Canadian, there are employment laws to protect you at work and create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your employers. These guidelines and regulations provide structure and consistency in every workplace and promote fair working conditions, work-life balance, and pay. Knowledge is power; you must understand provincial and federal employment law and stay up-to-date on changes so you can exercise your rights appropriately.
Changes to Ontario employment law in 2021:
Paid sick days:
Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Ontario implemented the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act. Effective April 29, 2021, until September 25, 2021, all employees are entitled to up to $200 of pay per day for no more than three days. Only those who must take time off for COVID-19 reasons are eligible for the paid sick leave program. Additionally, suppose you require more than three days off. The Government of Ontario is adding an extra $500 per week on top of the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit amount (making it a total of $1000 a week). There are currently no permanent paid sick day employment laws in Ontario.
As of October 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase by 10 cents. Minimum wage is the lowest legal wage that an employer can pay an employee (with some exemptions).
- General minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.35
- Student minimum wage will increase from $13.40 to $13.50
- Liquor servers wage will increase from $12.45 to $12.55
Changes to Federal employment law in 2021:
Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations:
You have a right to feel safe and protected in the workplace, free from any form of harassment and violence. Under the Canada Labour Code (CLC), the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations enforce policies and procedures for responding to reports of harassment and violence. The regulations are required for federally regulated employers and include risk assessments, workplace policies, and training.
Wage gaps are an ongoing issue in many workplaces; they affect women, visible minorities, those with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples. The Pay Equity Act and accompanying regulations aim to close the wage gaps in federally regulated workplaces by implementing plans and processes accessible by all employees. Under this employment law, you may file a complaint with the Pay Equity Office if you’re wrongfully dismissed or disciplined for addressing or exercising pay equity rights.
Included under the regulations for the Pay Equity Act is pay transparency. To have pay equity, federally regulated employers must also be transparent about their efforts and measures to address any potential or current wage gaps.
When to contact an employment lawyer.
If you were wrongfully dismissed from your job due to an employer violating your rights or not adhering to employment laws, contact an employment lawyer. An experienced employment lawyer can help you with cases concerning wages, harassment, discrimination, unlawful termination, and other workplace issues.