Rights 101 resource - Did You Know!

Applying for jobs? Just got your first job? Not sure of your rights? Maybe need a refresher? Below is a ton of great information and resources to help you know your rights as a young worker in Canada.

You have 3 fundamental rights as an employee:

  • The right to know
  • The right to participate
  • The right to refuse unsafe work

You’re responsible as a young worker to:

  • know and comply with all regulations
  • protect yourself, your co workers, and members of the public who may be affected by your actions
  • report unsafe actions and unsafe conditions to your employer
  • use protective equipment, as required by the employer
  • report any accident, incident, or illness immediately to your employer

Your employer is responsible:

  • To provide a safe and healthy workplace
  • To train employees on potential hazards and to ensure employees have the required certification
  • To correct unsafe actions and conditions
  • To ensure protective equipment is available and being used
  • To report and investigate all accidents and incidents

If you have just lost your job you may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI): EI is available for Canadians who have lost their job due to no fault of their own.

What labour rights are you covered by?

Approximately 820,000 employees are defined by the Canada Labour Code. These employees account for six percent of all Canadian workers.

If you are employed by one of the following businesses and industries, you are more than likely working in a federally regulated sector:

  • banks
  • marine shipping, ferry and port services
  • air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines
  • railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
  • canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
  • telephone, telegraph and cable systems
  • radio and television broadcasting
  • grain elevators, feed and seed mills
  • uranium mining and processing
  • businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource
  • many First Nation activities
  • most federal Crown corporations
  • private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

If you do not work for one of the above, the employment standards that regulate your conditions of work are defined by your provincial or territorial ministry of labour. See the links below for each province and territory’s labour laws.


British Columbia


Newfoundland and Labrador

New Brunswick

Northwest Territories 

Nova Scotia



Prince Edward Island




Human Rights

If at any time you feel as though you are being mistreated simply due to your race, religion, ethnic origin, skin colour, sex, age, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation you have the right to discuss the situation with your employer.

Federal Rights

You can refuse unsafe work: This is probably the most important right, and thus it’s place amongst the national standard for workers rights. If you feel at any time that the work you are doing is unsafe, you have the right to stop what you are doing, and inform your supervisor.

Getting injured at work: While there are different compensation boards within each province in territory, their existence is a national standard. If you become ill, or injured while on the job, there are compensation benefits available for you. When an injury occurs, you are to inform your supervisor right away. A health care professional should be then contacted and a claim form must be filled out.

 Printable PF: 7 Things Young Workers Should Know

Young Workers - Why health and safety awareness is important