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What Responsibilities Do You Have As An Employee In Canada?

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If you are a Canadian employee, it’s important to know just what your rights are in terms of your employment, and what you can and can’t do. Knowing this means that you’ll understand what happens if your contract is breached (on either side), or if you are asked to do something you’re not comfortable with. It will also help you even before you are employed; searching for a job and getting an interview is one thing, but know whether or not your contact is fair and even legal is another, and understanding more about your employee rights will give you a better insight into this potential issue.  

Read on to find out more about the rights you have as an employee in Canada; it might surprise you just what you (and your employer) can and can’t do, and it will help you to enjoy a good job in a fair way going forward.  

If you are a Canadian employee, it’s important to know just what your rights are in terms of your employment, and what you can and can’t do. Knowing this means that you’ll understand what happens if your contract is breached.Click To Tweet

Basic Employee Responsibilities 

When you are an employee, you have some basic responsibilities that you will need to fulfill. This is the same no matter what area you are working in or what your job title is, so it’s wise to know what they are and understand how to carry them out. 

Firstly, you need to arrive at work on time, every day. Being late means you’re not fulfilling your responsibilities, and although sometimes problems do occur, and being late once in a while is perfectly understandable (especially if you contact your place of work in advance), if it happens all the time you are essentially causing yourself and your employer a problem. 

You should also ensure that you work for the number of hours you’re meant to work. Even if you’re working from home and there is no one there to directly supervise you, working the agreed number of hours is part of your contract. If you run out of work to do, you can think about the next day and prepare for that, or ask someone if they need help or any number of things other than going home early. 

Honesty within the workplace and when carrying out your job is also the responsibility of the employee. Without honesty, the relationship between you and your colleagues including your manager or boss will be broken, and this can lead to many problems in the future. If you want a pleasant working environment, honesty is key. This also means that you will need to be honest if there is a problem, and speak out if some process needs to be changed or there is an issue somewhere. Only by being honest about this will it be possible to improve things. 

Following instructions is yet another basic responsibility that a worker must stick to. If you were to be given a set of instructions and then you don’t follow them correctly – or at all – then if something were to go wrong, if productivity were down, or there were any other complaints, you would have nowhere to turn to. If the instructions are unclear, you must ask questions to receive clarification. If they are dangerous, you are within your rights not to follow them, of course, but you must be honest with your employer if this is the case.  

Basic Employer Responsibilities 

Because there will be a contract between an employer and their employees, just as there are responsibilities that an employee must follow, so too are there responsibilities that an employer must stick to – in this way, the contract between the two parties will remain intact. If any of the employer’s responsibilities are not adhered to, an employee would be able to speak to employment law firms for advice, and perhaps even to sue for breach of contract. Because of this, it’s crucial for an employee to know not just what they should be doing, but what the employer should be doing too.  

There is a lot more employment law relating to the employer as opposed to the employee and this is because the employer’s responsibilities are more complicated than those of the worker. There are both federal and local laws that must be adhered to in order to make the workplace a safe one and to assist the employee in achieving the correct work-life balance. For example, in Ontario, employers must give a copy of the Ministry of Labour’s workplace poster to any new employee within the first 30 days of their employment. 

Some of the areas that an employer’s responsibilities relate to include the number of hours that can be worked, and the amount of money that should be paid (including minimum wage requirements). There will also be provision for overtime, sick pay, vacation days, maternity and paternity leave, how many breaks should be taken per day (and for how long), and of course, the rights and rules relating to the termination of any position. There are so many areas to cover that it is often the case that an employer will have a specialist lawyer on hand to help them ensure they are doing everything they need to in terms of their employees and the workplace itself.  

Essentially, though, if there is anything that you don’t agree with, that is dangerous, or that doesn’t allow you to have breaks, to eat or drink, or to have paid days off when required (depending on your contract, of course), then you should speak out about it. 


It can be hard to find work, and the temptation to agree to anything that an employer asks of you or tells you to do or even includes in your contract can be huge if you want or need a job. However, rushing into anything without ensuring that all your rights are covered, from health and safety to your basic human rights, and more, is only going to cause you problems.  

Take your time to read through each part of your contract before signing anything, and if something seems amiss, investigate further; it’s in your best interests. After all, work takes up such a large part of our lives that you just have to get it right. 

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