Human Resource Policies

Ontario legislation mandates specific workplace policies that promote safe and inclusive workplace cultures. The vast majority of Ontario employers are provincially regulated and therefore must adopt these policies.

However, the expectation for how employers implement these policies varies. Larger organizations sometimes have additional legal responsibilities, like providing workers with written policies or submitting reports to regulators. But regardless of company size, the principles behind these obligations remain the same.

Mandatory Policies

Occupational Health and Safety Policy: All employers must provide health and safety awareness training. Employers with:

  • Five or more workers must post a written health and safety policy.
  • Six to nineteen workers must have a health and safety representative.
  • Twenty to forty-nine workers must have a two-member health and safety committee.
  • Fifty or more workers must have a four-member health and safety committee.

There are other mandatory health and safety related policies that you should have in place, including a COVID-19 policy or a Safety Plan.

Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy: Every employer must have a policy that addresses violence and harassment in the workplace. This mandatory policy must be written in workplaces with at least five employees and be developed with health and safety representatives if applicable.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act: All employers must provide accessible customer service, special staff training, and fulfill other requirements to ensure they are accessible. Larger workplaces have additional obligations like accessibility plans and accessible web content.

Other Policies To Consider:

Even with these policies, workplaces should consider additional steps to ensure they fulfill their obligations to employees and protect themselves from liability.   Some additional policies to consider are list below, but note this is not an exhaustive list:

Human Rights and Anti-discrimination: A human rights and discrimination policy for example, are not legally mandated. However, the Humans Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the power to order employers to adopt these policies where it finds an employer’s practices are in contrary to the Code.  It is far better to develop a policy and training program as part of your workplace culture.

Social Media Policy: A social media policy addresses confidentiality, information control, and intellectual property concerns.

Electronic Use Policy: To clarify the line between personal and work use and to make employees aware of their expectations of privacy with employer-provided equipment.

Conflicts of Interest Policies: Provides guidance to employees to steer clear of conflicts of interest, for example, nepotism.

Attendance Policy: May outline the company’s approach to absenteeism, with consideration for chronic absenteeism related to disability or other justifiable causes.

Understand Your Obligations

If you have questions about policies, your obligations as an employer, or what other policies you should consider, contact the team at HR Enable. We are happy to discuss the best tools and resources to make your workplace safe, inviting, and productive.


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