Employment Legislation and Standards

Employment standards are the minimum standards of employment for workplaces required by law.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, please consult a lawyer.

Employment standards cover many aspects of employment including, but not limited to, the following areas:
  • Minimum wage
  • Minimum daily pay
  • Meal breaks
  • Payment of earnings (paydays)
  • Hours of work
  • Overtime
  • Statutory holidays
  • Annual vacation
  • Vacation pay
  • Employment of people under 18
  • Leave from work
  • Resolving disputes
  • Termination
  • Maternity leave
  • Weekly day of rest
  • Deductions
  • Keeping records
  • Sexual harassment
  • Probationary periods
  • Parental leave
  • Definition of "employee"

Any HR policies that you develop around the above topics, and any others covered by employment standards, must not provide less than what is offered in the legislation and/ or regulations. The employment standards legislation offers minimum standards; employers are free to develop policies or practices that exceed the minimums set out in the law.

Jurisdiction: Practically all ECEC organizations in Canada fall under provincial/territorial jurisdiction. Below are links to provincial/territorial departments dealing with employment standards.


Alberta Human Resources and Employment – Employment Standards

This site includes in-depth information about several topics on the home page. There are also many useful resources in the publications section, including a printable guide to the standards and facts sheets.

British Columbia

BC Ministry of Skills Development and Labour – Employment Standards Branch

This is a comprehensive website that includes a guide to employment standards, fact sheets (including some translated into several languages) and frequently asked questions. Some of the fact sheets have been translated into French.


Manitoba Labour and Immigration – Employment Standards Division

This bilingual website has a printable guide to the employment standards as well as several fact sheets on different topics.

New Brunswick

Employment Standards Branch

This bilingual website includes general information about employment standards and several helpful fact sheets on specific topics covered by the standards.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Agency – Labour Standards Division

This site has a useful frequently asked questions section organized by different topics and there is a sample statement of employment to use with new employees. There is also contact information if you have questions about any subjects not covered on the site.

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories Department of Justice – Employment Standards Act

This site contains a copy of the Employment Standards Act and Regulations.  There is also a contact telephone number if you have any questions about employment standards in your organization.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia – Labour and Workforce Development

This site has a useful guide to the labour standards, a frequently asked questions section organized by topic area and a special section on minimum wage.


Government of Nunavut – Department of Justice

There is little information on the government of Nunavut site regarding the Labour Standards Act of Nunavut. You can contact the Labour Services Officer in the Department of Justice with any questions you have regarding labour standards.

Labour Services Officer
Phone – 867-975-7293
Fax – 867-975-7294


Ontario Ministry of Labour – Employment Standards Program

This is a comprehensive website that includes a frequently asked questions section. Under the Employment Standards section, you will find details on employment standards, fact sheets on several topics, bulletins and information on filing a claim.

Prince Edward Island

Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs, Labour and Industrial Relations Division – Employment Standards

This site contains general information about employment standards. In the "YOU CAN ASK US ABOUT" section, you'll find a useful guide to the employment standards, fact sheets on several topics and frequently asked questions.


Commission des normes du travail – Labour Standards in Québec

This extensive site contains quick links to many topics, including psychological harassment in keeping with the recently passed law. There is also a frequently asked questions section and in the employers section you'll find information about training on labour standards.


Saskatchewan Department of Labour – Labour Standards

This site has many useful fact sheets organized by topic area as well as a frequently asked questions section.


Department of Community Services – Labour Services

This site has some basic frequently asked questions as well as a PDF document of the Employment Standards Act. There is also contact information for any questions you have about the employment standards.