Are you Ready for Summer Employees?

As thousands of eager students take up their summer jobs, it is important for employers to know which provincial and federal laws may govern this summer employment relationship.

Which Laws Apply?

Some statutes apply equally to employees who are hired for the summer and those who are longer-term. For example, the Ontario Human Rights Code and Canada Human Rights Act make no distinction between permanent full-time employees and summer employees. Similarly, neither the Occupational Health and Safety Act nor the Occupational Health and Safety Part of the Canada Labour Code exempt part-time or summer employees from their protections. Every employer is encouraged to take special care with summer employees, who may have little or no workplace experience, to ensure they are properly trained in all workplace safety measures.

Which Laws May Not Apply?

The Employment Standards Act (Ontario) (“ESA”), which governs the basic terms of the employment relationship for provincially regulated employers in Ontario, sets out some exemptions for positions likely to be filled by summer employees. For example:
  1. How old is the employee? Summer students below 18 years of age are not protected by minimum wage provisions.
  2. Is the summer employment for a specific term or task? If so, no notice of termination or termination pay is required. (Employees hired for a definite term or specific task and employees who have been employed for fewer than three months are not entitled to notice of termination or termination pay)
  3. In what business is the employer engaged? Certain businesses are exempt from minimum wage, overtime and holiday provisions of the ESA. For example, co-op programs supervised by a secondary school college or university; supervision of children at a camp or in a recreational program; landscaping or swimming pool installation or maintenance; and road building.
  4. What is the summer employee’s occupation? Some occupations are exempt from public holiday provisions. For example, the hospitality industry, among others.

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