Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic Answers Your Ontario Labour Law Questions

Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic helps inform, represent, and assist those with employment law and workers’ compensation issues. These services are available to low income individuals and groups within Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Counties.

Employment Law

Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic provides services related to several areas of employment law. Click on a link below to learn more about the topic in which you are inquiring:


Resources from Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) offers easy-to-follow resources that can help you understand your rights within employment law. Click on a link below to download a pamphlet:

What You Should Know About Employment Standards

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) of 2000 sets minimum standards for Ontario employers and employees. Our clinic can assist you in drafting a complaint in instances where an employer breaches the Act’s provisions. We can also represent clients, if necessary, or work with clients to help them represent themselves.

The Ontario Employment Standards Act regulates items such as:

Work Hours

The general rule on work hours is employees cannot be required to work more than 8 Hours per Day (or the number of hours in an established work day if it is more than 8, such as in cases of shift work.) Employees cannot also be expected to work more than 48 hours throughout the span of a week. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website to learn more about work hours.

Wages

Employees in Ontario are entitled to a minimum wage of $10.25 per hour ($11.00 per hour, effective June 1st, 2014.) If you are a student, a worker who serves liquor, a hunting or fishing guide, or a homeworker, you may be subject to a different minimum wage. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website to view the official minimum wage and rate guide.

Overtime

After an employee works over 44 hours in a work week they are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website to learn more about overtime pay.

Vacation

As a general rule, employees are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation after every 12 months. Although, your employer can decide to start your vacation entitlement year on a date other than your date of hire. In these cases, you are entitled to a pro-rated vacation amount which will include the pay for the period before the vacation entitlement year begins. This period is known as the "stub period." Visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website to learn more about vacation time.

Personal & Family Leave

Some life situations may require an employee to take time away from work. The ESA recognizes several leave situations and has created rules for dealing with each of them. Click on a link below to view information from the Ontario Ministry of Labour:

Paid maternity and parental benefits are provided by the Federal government through the Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits program.

Even though family medical leave is unpaid, you may be entitled to six weeks of paid compassionate care benefits through the Employment Insurance Act.

Severance Pay

Within Ontario, an employer has the right to dismiss an employee. Although, if the employer does not have just cause for doing so, the employer must provide the employee with a certain amount of notice before the dismissal takes effect. Alternatively, the employer must pay the employee in lieu of notice.

Under ESA, an employee's job can be terminated in three different ways:

The employer dismisses or stops employing someone.
An employee is constructively dismissed if the employer makes one or more significant changes to fundamental terms or conditions of the employment without the employee's consent.
The employee is laid off for a period that is longer than a temporary layoff.

Learn more about dismissals, notice periods, and severance pay via the Ministry of Labour website.

Who is eligible to receive employment insurance (EI) benefits?

If you are unemployed you may be eligible to receive EI benefits. These benefits are based on the number of hours that you have worked, usually during the previous 12 months. Depending on your situation and where you live, the number of hours required to qualify for EI benefits will vary. To inquire about your circumstances you should contact the Cornwall EI office located at 111 Water Street East, Suite 100 or by calling 613-938-5731.

How much will I receive from EI benefits?

If you are eligible to receive EI benefits, you will be paid 55% of your average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $435 a week. Your first payment will be calculated from the third week of unemployment. (The first two weeks are considered a waiting period.) Any monies you receive when your job ends, vacation and severance pay for instance, as well as any money you receive during the waiting period will be deducted from the first 3 weeks of benefits payable to you.

The number of hours you have worked as well as where you live will dictate how long you will receive EI benefits. However, you cannot receive EI benefits for more than 45 weeks at one time.

Am I entitled to EI benefits if I have quit my job?

Unless you quit your job for just cause, it is unlikely you will be entitled to EI benefits, even if you were at your job for many years.

In essence, just cause for quitting your position means that something in your work situation or something in your personal life left you with no choice but to quit your job. Although each case will be judged on its own merits, the following are examples of what might be considered just cause:

  • You were being harassed at work.
  • You were being discriminated against.
  • Your supervisor was unjustly hostile or unfair.
  • Your spouse or dependent child is moving and you must go with them.
  • You have to care for your child or other close family member.

In these circumstances, you should apply for EI benefits and immediately seek legal advice.

Am I entitled to EI benefits if I have been fired from my job?

You may be entitled to receive EI benefits if you were wrongfully dismissed from your job. However, if you were fired for misconduct you will not receive benefits. Misconduct may include such things as:

  • Threatening or violent behaviour
  • Deliberately destroying company property
  • Disobeying your employer

If you were wrongly dismissed from your job, you should apply for benefits and immediately seek legal advice.

How do I apply for Employment Insurance?

You can apply online by visiting the Service Canada website or by visiting your nearest Service Canada Centre. If going in-person, you should call first to see if you need an appointment. You will need to bring your social insurance card, photo ID and your Record of Employment (ROE). If your social insurance number begins with a 9, you will also have to bring your work permit and proof of immigration status.

Your employer is obligated to provide your ROE within five days of your last day of work. If you are having trouble obtaining your ROE, contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218. Even if you do not yet have your ROE, You should apply for EI benefits immediately.

Review the ROE carefully for any mistakes and contact your employer to have them corrected. Do not attempt to make corrections yourself.

What are my obligations while I am drawing EI benefits?

  • You have to be available for work.
  • You have to be actively looking for work.
  • You must send in your weekly reports.
  • You must report any income you receive.
  • If asked, you must provide a record of your job search.
  • If you are provided with job referrals by EI staff you must follow up on them.
  • You must meet with EI staff when asked and participate in the required training programs and other activities.

If you do not fulfill your obligations, you may be disqualified from receiving EI benefits for a number of weeks. In addition, your disqualification can be carried over to a future EI claim.

If you knowingly provide false or misleading information about your claim, you may face severe penalties. Not only will you have to pay back the benefits that you were not entitled, but you could also be asked to repay as much as three times your weekly benefit. Additionally, violations can stay on your EI record up to five years.

Although you do not have to take any job you can find, you must apply to and accept any job deemed suitable by the EI staff.

What do I include in the record of my job search?

  • Copies of want ads to which you have responded
  • Notes about Service Canada Centre job listings to which you have responded
  • Notes about people and employers that you speak to regarding your job search
  • Copies of job applications and related letters

What can I do if I disagree with a decision made by the EI staff?

Decisions by EI staff can be appealed. All appeals must be made in writing and generally must be made within 30 days. The first level of appeal is to the Board of Referees. Before appealing a decision, you should consider seeking legal advice.

What kind of help can I get from the clinic?

We can explain how the system works and if someone is denied benefits we can help them draft a letter of explanation to Employment Insurance. If the claim is once again denied, we can represent the claimant, depending on the case, before the Board of Referees. We may also represent the applicant before the Umpire.

Wrongful Dismissal

If a person is dismissed from his/her job, or forced out of his/her job, and he/she was not at fault, then that person has been “wrongfully dismissed.” Damages can be claimed in Superior Court, as well as in Small Claims Court. The Clinic provides advice only with respect to this area of the law. We do not represent clients in court.

Workers’ Compensation

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) prepares and promotes workplace health and safety guidelines, and provides an insurance system that compensates workers who have been injured on the job.

Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic works in several areas of WSIB law, including:
  • Denial of Benefits Appeals
  • Termination of Benefits Appeals
  • Benefit Termination Appeals
  • Appeals for Denial of Service to Early & Safe Return to Work program
  • Non-Economic Loss Appeals


Who is Eligible for WSIB Benefits?

In order to be eligible for WSIB benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an employer-worker relationship with a WSIB-covered employer
  • Your illness or injury must be directly related to your work
  • File your WSIB claim in a timely fashion
  • Consent to release of information to your employer from healthcare professionals
  • Follow treatments and healthcare advice and directions
  • Submit to health exams as required by the WSIB
  • Cooperate in an Early and Safe Return to Work program, or your Labour Market Re-Entry program


What WSIB Benefits are Available?

There are several benefits of WSIB for which you may be entitled. These benefits can cover:

  • Loss of Earnings
  • Non-Economic Loss (NEL)
  • Future Economic Loss
  • Loss of Retirement Income Benefit
  • Future Economic Loss (FEL)
  • Healthcare Expenditures
  • Healthcare Equipment & Supplies
  • Seriously Injured Workers
  • The Occupational Disease & Survivor Benefits Program


WSIB Information from CLEO

CLEO has pamphlets available which cover:

  • Making a Claim
  • Your Health Care
  • Getting Your Job Back After an Injury
  • Your Legal Responsibilities
  • Your Right to Appeal

If you have been injured on the job, the first thing to do is to seek first aid from a licensed healthcare professional. Next, report your injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as you are able. You should also write down the names of any co-workers who may have witnessed the incident.


Filing Your WSIB

To make a claim for benefits you must fill out and arrange to have filled out a number of forms.


Doctor’s First Report - Form 8
Your doctor will have to fill out a Form 8, which he or she will send to the Board. Your doctor will probably have this form.

Functional Abilities Form

This is another form that your doctor will have to fill out. Your employer will have copies of this form that you can provide to your doctor.

Employer’s Report of Injury/Disease - Form 7

Form 7 will be filled out by your employer. This form must be filled out and filed with WSIB within three days of the injury or illness. You will be asked to sign the section of the form that gives your doctor permission to give your employer information about your functional abilities.

Your employer must give you a copy of the completed Form 7. Make sure that your employer has correctly described the accident and your injuries and that all your wages have been listed.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Worker’s Report of Injury/Disease - Form 6

If you have signed the Form 7 and it has been sent to WSIB then your claim has been officially filed. However, if this has not been done you must fill out and file Form 6.


On this form you will explain in detail what caused your injury or illness. Form 6 must be sent to the WSIB within six months of the accident or illness. You should consider filing Form 6 even if your employer has filed a Form 7 that you have signed.


For more information about filing a WSIB claim download CLEO’s PDF booklet, Making a Claim, or visit the WSIB website

Local Employment Insurance Office

Cornwall Service Canada

111 Water Street East, Suite 100

Cornwall, Ontario K6H 6S4


EI Telephone

613-938-5731

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