It’s no secret that government legislation can have a huge impact on businesses and their interactions with their employees. That’s where HR managers can become tangled up in ensuring their firm’s compliance with various employment legislation. Here are a few of the top compliance concerns facing today’s HR managers.


In Canada, anti-discrimination is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter principles have been translated into employment legislation by various provinces, most often encoded in employment standards acts or human rights codes. In many jurisdictions, it’s illegal to discriminate in hiring based on someone’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, or race. Disability has also become a large focus for inclusive hiring practices. HR managers must ensure that their firm’s hiring practices are inclusive of all groups. In some cases, this can be as simple as ensuring that the office is accessible for a candidate who uses a wheelchair; in other cases, it means ensuring that hiring practices do not contain bias against visible minorities or women, for example.


Are you hiring a part-time or full-time employee? Are you hiring someone on a temporary basis, a fixed-term contract, or an indefinite contract? Different legislation governs relationships between employers and employees of various classes, and how they are to be compensated. That means HR managers must be sure that the firm’s classification of employees matches the government definitions. Otherwise, the firm could find itself liable for compensation above and beyond what management thought they were responsible for.


This is the classic HR compliance concern. Governments have long intervened in legislating how long employees can work, what constitutes “working,” overtime pay, and the like. Minimum wage varies from province to province, as do regulations surrounding how many hours can be worked in a row before employees must be given a rest period, and how many hours can be worked before overtime compensation must be paid. There are also rules surrounding break periods; for example, in Ontario, employees who work five or more consecutive hours are entitled to a 15-minute break and a half-hour meal break. Those working eight hours are legally allowed two 15-minute breaks and a half-hour meal break. There is also legislation regarding paid time off and how employees must be compensated for lost time at work.


HR is also responsible for ensuring that health and safety regulations are well-known and disseminated to all staff. HR is responsible for filing claims related to workplace injuries and for issuing compensation resulting from a workplace injury. Generally speaking, HR’s job in this area is to ensure that the business is operating within the bounds of all health and safety regulations, regularly reviewing their procedures, assessing the workplace for hazards, and addressing those hazards. This minimizes the firm’s legal responsibility should accidents take place. HR may also need to ensure all contractors are up-to-date on their training in this area, and ensure contract employees operate within the regulations while doing work for your company.


Did you know that, in Ontario, employees are entitled to take an unpaid, 3-month leave of absence and the employer must hold their job for them? Do you know the regulations surrounding parental leave in your province? Quebec and Ontario have different laws, and Alberta’s regulations are also different. HR must ensure that paid and unpaid leave is executed within the bounds of legislation in their jurisdiction. If your company operates in several different provinces, HR will need to reconcile company policies with provincial legislation in each different area. That can mean a legal tangle for HR managers—but it is crucially important to ensure that your firm is compliant with the law.

Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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