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Worker’s Rights

Worker’s Rights

We know that as tuition fees and costs associated with education and living increase, students are more and more likely to be workers. We want to make sure that you are aware of your rights as workers.

A unionized workplace and collective agreement help to define protections and benefits as well as ensure that workers have a fair say in how their workplace operates. If you work at a part-time job for the University of Toronto that is not a work-study position, you are likely unionized. For more information on which jobs are unionized, please check here.

In the absence of those protections, workers still have minimum regulations defined by the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

The ESA does not cover individuals performing work in an internship or experience program. It does cover students in work-study jobs.

For more information visit labour.gov.on.ca or call 1-800-531-5551.

For information about laws that govern workplace safety, labour relations, pay equity and human rights, call the Ministry of Government Services at: 1-800-268-1142.

Here are some helpful rights to remember:

Hours of work:

• You cannot be required to work more than eight hours in a day.
• You cannot be required to work more than 48 hours in a week.

Rest periods:

• You must have at least 11 consecutive hours off work each day.
• You must have 24 hours off work each week or 48 consecutive hours off work in every two-week period.


• If you are required to work more than 44 hours in a week, you must be paid overtime.
• The overtime rate is 1½ times the regular rate of pay.

Minimum Wage:

• $10.25 per hour.
• $9.60 per hour if you are a student under the age of 18 and work less than 28 hours per week.
• $11.28 per hour if you are a homeworker.
• $8.90 per hour if you are a liquor server.


• You must be paid on a regular, recurring payday and must be given a statement showing your wages and deductions each pay period.

Vacation Time and Pay:

• You are entitled to at least four per cent of your total wages as vacation pay.

Public holidays

• You are most likely entitled to take Ontario’s public holidays off each year. Ontario’s public holidays can be found here.

Pregnancy and Parental Leave

• You are entitled to take up to 17 weeks of unpaid, job-protected pregnancy leave and 35 weeks of parental leave (if you have taken pregnancy leave).

Personal Emergency Leave:

• If your employer employs at least 50 people, you are entitled to take up to 10 days each calendar year of unpaid, job-protected personal emergency leave. This is for personal illness, injury or medical emergency, or for the death, illness, injury or medical emergency or urgent matter concerning certain family members.

Family Medical Leave:

• You are entitled to take family medical leave to provide care or support to family members who have a serious illness with a significant risk of dying within a period of 26 weeks. This leave is an unpaid, job-protected leave of up to eight weeks.

Termination Notice and Pay:

• You must be given advance written notice, or termination pay instead of notice, or a combination of both, if you have been working continuously for three months or more and your job is terminated. The amount of notice or pay depends on how long you have been working.

Claiming Your Rights:

• You cannot be punished for claiming your rights. You cannot be intimidated, fired, suspended or threatened with these actions because you ask about or claim your rights. If this happens, you should contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour immediately.

Ontario Human Rights Commission:

• You are entitled to be treated equally to others, free of discrimination. This is legislated by the Ontario Human Rights Act and the Canadian Human Rights Code. If you think you are a victim of discriminatory treatment, contact the Ontario Human Rights Commission at 1-800-387-9080. Their website is ohrc.on.ca.


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