Canada: Top 10 Employment Law Basics For First-Time Employers In Manitoba

Your business has grown and you are now thinking of taking on your first employees – congratulations! But where to start?

Employment law in Manitoba is regulated by a combination of contractual, statutory and common law rules. The following is a short checklist of 10 basic employment law areas that most first time Manitoba employers need to consider. *

  1. The Employment Standards Code (ESC) – The ESC sets out the minimum working entitlements for the vast majority of employees in Manitoba. It governs things such as: minimum wage, hours of work, breaks, overtime, unpaid leaves of absence (including maternity and parental leaves); vacation time-off and pay, General Holidays (commonly referred to as "stat" holidays), termination of employment, and more!

The ESC cannot be contracted out of. This means that an employer and employee cannot agree that the employee will work for less than his or her entitlements under the ESC. However, an employer may provide greater benefits than those provided for in the ESC if it chooses.

  1. The Workplace Health and Safety Act & Regulations (WSHA) – The WSHA requires every employer to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. It sets out the minimum safety and health standards required for all types of working environments. It also requires that most employers develop various written policies, such as: a general safety & health program, harassment and violence prevention policies, and much more. It also establishes the employer's investigation and reporting obligations when a workplace incident or accident occurs.

All employers should review the WSHA in detail to know the specific requirements that apply to its workplace. Violations may result in an employer being charged with an offence under the WSHA and subject to improvement orders, stop work orders, and hefty fines.

  1. Workers Compensation – Workers compensation insurance is a no-fault insurance system. Employers enroll with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) and pay a premium to cover their employees, and in return they are not able to be sued for workplace injuries. Most employers that employ workers in Manitoba are required to open and maintain an account with the WCB. You should contact the WCB to inquire whether your business requires mandatory enrollment.
  1. The Human Rights Code – The Manitoba Human Rights Code prevents any employer from discriminating against any employee on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
  • ancestry, including colour and perceived race
  • nationality or national origin
  • ethnic background or origin
  • religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity
  • age
  • sex, including sex-determined characteristics or circumstances, such as pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • marital or family status
  • source of income
  • political belief, political association or political activity
  • physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances, including reliance on a service animal, a wheelchair, or any other remedial appliance or device
  • social disadvantage.
  1. The Manitoba Labour Board – The Manitoba Labour Board deals primarily with matters involving employers, unions and unionized employees; for example, applications for union certification, collective agreements, and grievance arbitrations.According to the law, these protected grounds must not play any role at all in the employer's hiring or firing decisions, unless an employer has accommodated an employee to the point of "undue hardship". This can be a complicated legal principle and employers are encouraged to seek advice when a question of discrimination or potential discrimination arises.

    The Board may also become involved in adjudicating complaints related to employment standards or workplace safety & health, but only if those complaints cannot first be resolved through other governmental departments (e.g. Employment Standards Branch or Workplace Safety and Health Division).

  1. Benefits – Employers in Manitoba do not have an obligation to provide benefits or other "perks" to employees such as a medical/dental plan, life insurance, disability insurance or a pension plan. Many employers choose to do so, however, it is not legally required.
  2. Canada Revenue Agency & Service Canada Requirements – All employers have the following reporting and remittance requirements to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
  • TD1 Forms: When an employee begins his or her employment, the employer must have him or her fill out TD1 (federal) and TD1MB tax forms.
  • Statutory Remittances:Employers must deduct certain amounts from employee pay for income tax, employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and remit them to the CRA on a regular basis. Deductions/remittances are tracked by Business Number. If you are using a payroll company, they can likely assist you with this.
  • T4: Employer must complete end of year tax reporting by issuing a T4 form to each employee and a T4 summary for CRA.

Employers must also issue a Record of Employment (ROE) form when an employee is terminated, quits, or has an interruption of earnings. An ROE must be issued within five (5) calendar days and a copy must be provided to Service Canada.

  1. Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Agreements – Employers sometimes seek to limit an employee's ability to take customers and/or work for a competitor by having employees sign non-compete or non-solicit agreements. Such restrictions are commonly used, but are difficult to enforce. They must be carefully drafted and limited in terms of the restricted activity, how long the restriction applies, and the geographical scope of the restriction. Legal advice is recommended if these types of restrictions are desired.
  2. Termination of Employment – While most new employers are optimistic and not thinking of termination at the beginning of an employment relationship, it is important to do so since it is often the most contentious part of the employment relationship. There are three main ways that an employment contract can be terminated:

(1) At the expiry of a fixed term (i.e. where a contract is only for a set period of time).

(2) For "just cause", immediately and without notice. However, the burden of proving "just cause" is on the employer and is a very high threshold to meet.

(3) "Without cause", at any time, if the employer gives advance notice or pay in lieu of notice (often commonly referred to as "severance pay"). This is a very common way of terminating employees. However, the big question in these types of terminations is how much notice or pay in lieu of notice the employer is required to give. This can be a complicated question and can depend on a number of factors including The Employment Standards Code, whether a written contract of employment exists, and the "common law". Each case is highly dependent on the specific circumstances of each employee.

As termination is an area that has a significant ability to result in liability for the employer, employers can often benefit from legal advice at the start of an employment relationship and both prior to and following a termination.

  1. The Importance of a Written Employment Contract –It is a good idea for all employers to enter into a written employment contract with every new employee. The benefits of a written contract are to serve as a clear guide and reminder to both the employer and employee as to what each parties' obligations are. It can also be used to avoid disputes which may arise later on, for example, by clearly setting out what the employer's obligations are upon termination of employment. Employment contracts should be signedbeforethe employee begins his or her first day of work.

* Please note that this checklist applies to provincially-regulated employers. It does not address the requirements for federally-regulated businesses. If you are not sure if you are a federally-regulated business, a lawyer will be able to help you determine this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions