This article is designed to assist employers in understanding some of their obligations and rights under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and its regulations. It does not take the place of the ESA and its regulations and it should not be considered as legal advice on a particular situation.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) outlines the employee information that organizations, including startups, must securely store as part of their employee record keeping. This information includes:
At some point, it may be necessary to justify an employment-related decision (e.g., an involuntary termination). A well-documented employee record may help to support that decision.
An organization can choose to either store these employee records in a secure facility or have another organization keep them on their behalf (e.g., an accountant or payroll company). Regardless, these records must always be readily available.
The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) provides the following employee record-keeping rules:
Ontario does not yet have private-sector privacy legislation. However, it is likely that the province will come to do so. In the meantime, organizations from Ontario are guided by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). PIPEDA requires individuals’ knowledge and consent in respect of every collection, use and disclosure of personal information covered by PIPEDA, unless an exception applies. An organization must identify and document the purposes for which it seeks to collect personal information at or before the time of collection.
Company access to personnel files should be limited to authorized staff who require it to carry out their duties. In addition, because personnel files may include a variety of personal information, authorized staff should have access only to specific categories of personal information contained in the employee file. Inexpensive human resources information systems are available that can ensure this level of security.
To ensure that access is only given to authorized staff, a filing system can be created that distinguishes categories that are stored in the employee record. These categories may include:
See the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) for more details on the above, and for all the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in Ontario workplaces. Information there is frequently updated.
For other provinces and territories- https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/about-the-opc/what-we-do/provincial-and-territorial-collaboration/provincial-and-territorial-privacy-laws-and-oversight/#009