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Have you been fired or laid off?

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If I have been fired or laid off, what can I do?

If you have been fired, it is a good idea to get legal advice.

A lawyer with experience in employment law can help by giving you advice about:

  • how much notice your employer should give you
  • whether you should file a claim with the Ministry of Labour or go to court
  • what other rights you may have

A lawyer who knows employment law can tell you how much notice a court might order. With a lawyer’s help, you might be able to agree on the amount of notice with your employer. An employer might want to avoid the cost of going to court.

Making an ESA claim

You may be able to enforce your rights under the ESA by making a claim against your employer. The Ministry of Labour can order your employer to pay you money that you are owed based on the rules in the ESA.

A claim for unpaid wages must be filed with the Ministry of Labour within 2 years of the date the wages were owing.

In some cases, the Ministry can order your employer to give you your job back and to compensate you for any loss caused by your employer’s actions. For example, this is the case if your employer broke the law by penalizing you for exercising your legal rights.

In some cases, you may be able to enforce your rights by bringing a court action against your employer. If you do, you cannot file a claim for the same violation of your rights with the Ministry of Labour.

If you make a claim against your employer, it is very helpful to have records of the hours and dates that you worked. Make notes about incidents that might be relevant to your claim. Include the names of any witnesses to events that relate to your claim.

Keep any documents or pay stubs you get from your employer. Also keep copies of any other documents that have to do with your job.

If your employer is bankrupt

If your employer has gone bankrupt, you may be able to get wages, vacation pay, severance pay, and termination pay owing to you by applying to the federal Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP).

The maximum that you can get from WEPP is an amount equal to 4 weeks of "insurable earnings" under the Employment Insurance Act ($3,976.92 for 2018) minus deductions. You can get wages and vacation pay that you earned in the 6 months before your employer’s bankruptcy. You can get severance or termination pay owing only if you lost your job in the 6 months before your employer’s bankruptcy. You must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

To find out more about who can qualify and how to apply, you can go to the Service Canada website at or call:

Toll-free: 1-800-622-6232

Toll-free TTY: 1-800-926-9105