Taking a step back in time: Ontario’s ESA turns 50 years old

Original document held unique provisions for females working nights
By Sheila Brawn
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 05/23/2019

This year, Ontario’s employment standards legislation marks a milestone. It has reached the half-century mark.

On Jan. 1, 1969, the provincial government implemented the Employment Standards Act, 1968. The new legislation consolidated other acts that addressed working conditions such as hours of work, vacations, and minimum wages, bringing employment standards rules together in one act for the first time in Ontario.

Compared to today’s legislation, the original ESA was short, with only 39 sections. (There are more than 140 now.) The original act did not address leaves of absence, terminations, or severance pay. They would come later.