You are entitled to the same employment protections as Canadians, as such you should be aware of the employment standards that apply to your situation.
Most Canadian businesses are provincially regulated and employ 90% of the Canadian workforce. The remaining 10% are federally regulated (e.g. banks, airports, railway) and fall under the Canada Labour Code. Canadian labour laws address such employee protections as minimum wage, overtime, and vacation pay.
The following are examples of worker protections that are applicable in the Canadian provinces where most foreign International Experience Canada participants live and work:
Minimum Wage: Each Canadian province has a minimum wage that varies slightly. The minimum wage for federally employed workers is equal to the adult minimum wage rate of the province or territory where he/she is employed. All employers must pay at least the minimum wage to any worker who is being trained. Avoid working for any employer who offers you a job but says you will not be paid while you are in training or who offers to pay a lower salary than the minimum wage because of various reasons. Visit the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website for more information on the minimum wage guidelines for each province.
Overtime: In most provinces, if you work more than a certain number of hours per week, you are entitled to receive 1.5 times your hourly pay for each hour of overtime worked. Overtime hours apply after:
Vacation Pay: When you leave a job you are entitled to receive 4% of your total wages as vacation pay. Some employers add vacation pay as a series of installments during each pay period (i.e. % added to each pay cheque).
Holiday Pay: You may be entitled to receive pay for Canadian statutory holidays even if you do not work on those days. Consult the Labour Standards Websites section for more information. For federally regulated employees, consult the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website to determine if you meet the requirements to receive holiday pay.
Pay Cheques: Most Canadian employers pay workers every 2 weeks. Your employer must provide you with a pay stub along with each pay cheque or direct deposit. Pay stubs contain the following information:
Rights Upon Termination: You can be fired without notice if you have been employed for less than 3 months, or if you have been proven guilty of willful misconduct. If you have been employed for more than 3 months but less than 1 year, your employer must give you 1 weeks’ notice before termination. If your workplace is federally regulated and you have been employed for more than 3 months, your employer must give you either 2 weeks’ notice or 2 weeks’ wages.
If you feel your employer has not met the obligations stipulated under Canadian labour standards laws, you may file a complaint with the ministry or department of labour in the province or territory where you work. If your workplace is federally regulated, you may file a complaint with a federal labour office. Don’t wait to file a formal complaint. The sooner you lodge it, the more likely it can be resolved. After filing a complaint, request a fact-finding meeting with your employer and a labour standards officer.
Remember: You have a responsibility to your employer as well. If you decide to leave your job, be courteous and provide your employer with adequate notice.
For Federally Regulated Workers
For Provincially Regulated Workers:
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