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I've been fired from my job. When does my employer have to give me my wages and paperwork?

If you're fired from your job, your employer has to:

  • pay you any wages they owe you
  • produce a Record of Employment

Rules in Ontario's Employment Standards Act

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has rules about what your employer has to do when they dismiss you from your job.

But not all jobs are covered by the ESA. And, in some cases, only parts of the ESA apply.

To find out if your job is covered by the ESA and which parts apply to you, see the step below called Find out if you're covered by the Employment Standards Act.

If the ESA does not cover your situation, check What laws apply to me as a worker?.

When wages must be paid

The ESA says that if your employer owes you any wages at the time you're fired, they have to pay you by the later of these two dates:

  • 7 days after your job ends
  • your next regular payday

What's included in wages

Your wages include vacation pay and any other money they owe you because you've been fired. For example, this includes termination pay.

It also includes severance pay but your employer can give you this in smaller payments or installments if:

  • you agree in writing, or
  • they apply to the Director of Employment Standards at the Ministry of Labour and the Director approves.

Your employer has to give you all your severance pay within 3 years. If they're paying in installments and miss a payment, they have to pay you the rest of the severance pay right away.

Record of Employment

Your employer also has to prepare a Record of Employment (ROE). This is a form that asks about things like how long you worked for your employer, how many hours you worked, and how much you earned.

The form includes a question about the employer's reason for completing the ROE. There are codes the employer must use to answer the question. If you were fired, they will likely choose "M" for "dismissal". If you apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you'll be asked to explain why you were fired because this can affect whether you're eligible for EI benefits.

It's easier to apply for EI benefits if your employer has already prepared the ROE. This is because Service Canada uses your ROE to figure out:

  • whether you're eligible for EI benefits
  • the amount of benefits you'll get
  • how long you'll receive benefits

Your employer can either give you a paper copy of your ROE or send your ROE to the government electronically.

If they send it to the government electronically, they don't have to give you a copy and you don't need a copy to apply for EI. If you want a copy, you can get one from Service Canada.

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Next Steps: 

Find out if you're covered by the Employment Standards Act

Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) has rules that employers must follow, including rules about when you have to get what you're owed if you're fired from your job.

Use the Ministry of Labour's online tool called Industries and Jobs with Exemptions or Special Rules to find out if your job is covered by the ESA and which parts of the ESA apply.

You can also call the Ministry's Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551, 416-326-7160, or 1-866-567-8893 (TTY).

If the ESA does not cover your situation, check What laws apply to me as a worker?

You may need

Get a copy of your Record of Employment

When you're fired or laid off, your employer has to prepare a Record of Employment (ROE). This is a form that asks your employer to fill in information like how long you’ve worked for your employer, how many hours you worked, and how much you earned.

The form includes a question about the employer's reason for completing the ROE. There are codes the employer must use to answer the question. If you were fired, they will likely choose "M" for "dismissal". If you apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you'll be asked to explain why you were fired because this can affect whether you're eligible for EI benefits.

If your employer does not give you a paper copy, it's possible they sent your ROE to the government electronically. Then, you don't need a copy to apply for EI benefits.

You can check with Service Canada and get a copy if your employer sent your ROE in electronically.

You may need

Consider your options if your employer hasn't paid what they owe you

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) says that if your employer owes you any wages at the time you're fired, they have to pay you by the later of these two dates:

  • 7 days after your job ends
  • your next regular payday

Wages includes vacation pay and money they owe you because you've been fired. For example, this includes termination pay.

If your employer still owes you money, you may want to consider making a claim with the Ministry of Labour. They can order your employer to pay you.

You may also want to get legal advice about how much your employer owes you.

If you're not covered by the ESA, you may want to consider suing your employer in court for what they owe you.

Apply for benefits

You might be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

And, you might be able to get EI even though you were fired. It depends on the reason you were fired.

Your employer might say you were fired for misconduct. If EI staff agree, they will not give you benefits. But they can decide that your employer is wrong.

What is misconduct is often not clear. So you should apply for EI even if you were fired. You can find out more about the rules to qualify for EI in Employment insurance.

If you don't qualify or you're waiting for EI, you might be able to get social assistance benefits from Ontario Works (OW). To get OW assistance, you must qualify financially. This means that you must need financial help so that you have enough money to live on.

You must also meet OW rules about:

  • income, which is how much money you already get
  • assets, which are things you own and any money or savings you have

You can apply for OW online.

The information you enter online goes to your local OW office. Within 3 business days, a worker from that office is supposed to phone you to set up an appointment to complete the application.

If you don't have a phone number, call your local OW office to make the appointment.

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Reviewed: 
September, 2015