Employment regulations: Hiring

It is important to know your obligations and opportunities when you hire people. This guide will help you to familiarize yourself with employer regulations in Ontario and the resources that are available for employers.

Table of contents

The essentials
Regulations and standards
Reporting requirements
Tools and calculators
Other resources

The essentials

The following are regulations and requirements that every employer must follow when hiring employees:

Payroll account number

Under federal law, most employers are required to collect, remit and report the following payroll deductions:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) premiums
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions
  • Personal income tax

As an employer, you must follow a number of steps for managing your staff payroll, such as opening a payroll account number, getting key information from new employees, calculating and remitting deductions and keeping proper records.

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
Open or manage a payroll account

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is dedicated to helping you prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Most employers are required to register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring an employee.

The benefits of registration include:

  • help in returning your injured employees to the job
  • insurance benefits to cover lost earnings as a result of injury
  • no-fault insurance
  • prevention and training programs
  • protection from lawsuits

Contact WSIB:
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Employer Health Tax (EHT)

You must pay EHT if your employees:

  • work at your permanent establishment in Ontario
  • are attached to your permanent establishment in Ontario, or
  • work elsewhere, but are paid through your permanent establishment in Ontario

You could be eligible for an EHT exemption on the first $1 million of your payroll if you are a private sector employer or an employer that receives funding from any level of government but is not controlled by government.

Eligible associated employers can claim only one $1 million exemption for the whole associated group.

If you are a private sector employer (including a member of an associated group of employers) with total Ontario earnings of over $5 million, you are not eligible for the exemption.

Contact the Ministry of Finance:
Employer Health Tax

Workplace health and safety

Almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario is covered by occupational health and safety regulations. As an employer in Ontario, you have a number of obligations, including a duty to instruct, inform and supervise your workers to protect their health and safety.

Read online:
Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Regulations and standards

In addition to “the essentials,” there are several regulations and standards that apply to you when you hire employees.

Employment standards

To ensure that employees are treated fairly, the federal and provincial governments have established employment standards. Some of the most common standards that may apply to your business include:

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development:
Posters required in the workplace 
Your guide to the Employment Standards Act 

Written policy on disconnecting from work

If you have 25 or more employees in your business, you need to have a written policy that says when and how your employees can disconnect from the workplace. Find out more about who you should count as an employee, important deadlines, the requirements to share this written policy with your employees and related record-keeping.

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development:
Written policy on disconnecting from work 

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Generally, new employees must provide a SIN number within 3 days of being hired. As an employer, you are obligated to ensure that anyone hired with a SIN beginning with "9" has valid authorization to work in Canada.

Read online:
Employer information - Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Pay equity

If you employ 10 or more people, your business must pay your male and female employees the same salary for equal or comparable work.

Pay equity was made law to reduce the wage gap that exists between women's and men's wages that was due to the undervaluing of work traditionally done by women.

The law requires the value of jobs usually done by women be compared to the value of jobs usually done by men. Female jobs, which are found to be of equal or comparable value to male jobs, must be paid at least the same.

Contact the Pay Equity Commission:
The Q&A Guide to Ontario's Pay Equity Act

Workplace violence and workplace harassment

Your employees should be able to enjoy a workplace that is free of violence and harassment. Resources and information are available to help ensure that your business provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees.

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development:
Workplace violence and workplace harassment

Personal information protection

As an employer, you are responsible for safeguarding your employees’ personal information. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s guide to Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) helps businesses understand their obligations and comply with regulations.

Contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada:
Privacy in the Workplace

Temporary help agency and recruiter licensing

Temporary help agency and recruiter licensing

As of July 1, 2024 (the previous deadline was January 1, 2024) temporary help agencies and recruiters working in Ontario need a licence to operate. Recruiters and temporary help agencies located outside of Ontario must also have an Ontario license if they hire people to work in Ontario. 

If you provide both recruiting and temporary help services, you will need two licenses (one for each service). 

The license must be renewed every year.

If you operate a business that uses the services of a temporary help agency or recruiter, you must ensure that you are using a licensed provider.

Refer to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s website to: 

  • learn more about the licensing rules 
  • apply for the licence
  • find out if a business is licensed 

Contact the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
Licensing for temporary help agencies and recruiters

Hiring self-employed contractors

Before you hire a self-employed contractor, find out if the relationship will be classified as employer to employee, or business to self-employed contractor. A self-employed or independent contractor will generally have more control over their:

  • tools and equipment 
  • hours of work
  • wages and contracts

In Ontario, the three main authorities to contact about classification are:

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency:
Employee or self-employed?

Contact the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
The difference between an employee and independent contractor

Contact WSIB
Workers and independent operators

Legal questions

Legal questions

You can contact Pro Bono Ontario’s free legal advice hotline to enquire about getting help with your everyday civil legal needs (no family law, immigration or criminal law). The service is generally aimed at those who cannot afford a lawyer.

Note that service is not guaranteed and you will be asked questions as part of the qualifying process, such as the amount of personal income earned by your household, your name, postal code and age range.

Contact Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline:

Read online:
Pro Bono Ontario - Free Legal Advice Hotline


You can also contact the Law Society of Ontario's Law Society Referral Service if you have legal questions of a business nature. The service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.

Use online:
Law Society Referral Service

Reporting requirements

Once you have successfully recruited employees, you will have reporting requirements for tax purposes and for when employees stop working.

Filing an information return (T4)

An information return is the T4 slip and the T4 Summary form used to report salary, wages, tips or gratuities, bonuses, vacation pay, employment commissions and all other remuneration employers pay to employees during the year.

Employers must file an annual information return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and give information slips to employees. The slips must be provided to employees by the last day of February following the calendar year to which the information return applies.

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency:
Employers' Guide - Filing the T4 slip and summary

Record of employment (ROE)

Employers are required to complete an ROE whenever an employee stops working. The ROE must be issued within 5 calendar days of an interruption of earnings (e.g., parental leave, dismissal) or the day the employer becomes aware of the interruption, whichever is later.

Record of Employment on the Web (ROE Web) allows you to create, edit, submit, view and print ROEs for your departing employees. By managing your ROE needs online, you no longer need to order, store or mail in paper copies of ROEs.

Use online:

For more information or to order paper copies of the ROE, speak with Service Canada directly.

Contact Service Canada:
How to complete the record of employment (ROE) form

Tools and calculators

There are a variety of online tools and calculators that can help you manage and understand your responsibilities as an employer.

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) guide for employers

This online guide for employers can help you understand your obligations and rights as an employer in Ontario.

Read online:
Your guide to the Employment Standards Act

Steps to hire foreign workers

If you are considering hiring a foreign worker, there are requirements that you may need to meet.

Read online:
How to hire a foreign worker

Health and safety resources

To ensure that people in the workplace stay safe, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development has created resources to help identify hazards in various sectors.

Use online:
Workplace health and safety

ES Self-Service Tool

Use this tool to better understand some of your rights and obligations related to employment standards and determine if the amount you pay to an employee meets certain minimum monetary standards.

Use online:
ES Self-Service Tool

Payroll deductions calculator

The payroll deductions online calculator calculates payroll deductions based on the information you provide.

Use online:
Payroll Deductions Online Calculator

Other resources

Office of the Employer Adviser

The Ontario Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) can offer you free expert and confidential advice and training on workplace safety and insurance issues in your business.

OEA can also help you:

  • resolve injury and insurance disputes early
  • get injured workers back on the job
  • share best practices of other successful employers

If you are an employer with fewer than 100 employees, OEA can represent and intervene on your behalf at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

Contact OEA:
Office of the Employer Adviser

Employment and Social Development Canada – Labour Program

If you are a federally-regulated employee or employer (or from a Crown Corporation), the Labour Program run by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) develops and administers the federal labour standards that define employment conditions in your place of work.

Read online:
Labour Program

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Top business essentials