There are provincial laws that protect workers and employers in Saskatchewan. These laws set minimum wages, health and safety standards and hours of work. In addition, human rights laws protect employees from being treated unfairly because of their sex, age, race, religion or disability.
Employment standards vary from province to province. In Saskatchewan, The Saskatchewan Employment Act sets the rules for fair treatment at work. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities in the workplace including information on wages, time away from work and more by visiting Employment Standards.
You can also visit Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide to Employment Standards in Saskatchewan. This guide provides detailed information on work schedules, overtime, public holidays, annual vacation, benefits for part-time employees, payroll administration, terminations, parental leave, time off for illness or injury, equal pay, permits, domestic and home workers and complaints and enforcement.
Saskatchewan has a minimum wage that employers are required to pay their workers.
Workplace Health and Safety
All Canadians have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. This is an important part of the workplace in Saskatchewan.
There are laws in place to protect employees from dangerous working conditions. If you believe something at your workplace is dangerous for you or someone else, discuss the problem with your employer or supervisor.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities related to health and safety in the workplace, visit Safety in the Workplace.
In cases of injury or death on the job, Workers' Compensation provides financial assistance, medical benefits and rehabilitation services to injured workers and their dependents.
For information on your rights and what to do if you are injured on the job, see the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board website.
Human rights are rights that belong to all human beings. They are principles or values of legislation, law and Canadian society that apply to all people equally. They include things like:
- Everyone is equal in dignity and rights.
- The law is the same for all people
- No one should be treated unfairly based on qualities like gender or disability.
- Everyone (18 years or older) can vote and associate with the political party they choose.
- No one should be denied education because of the group they belong to.
- No one should be denied housing based on nationality, religion, gender, or other prohibited ground.
Visit the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for more information.
The Human Rights Law in Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code is the law used to promote and protect rights and equality in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is a government agency that protects and promotes human rights in Saskatchewan.
Prohibited (Protected) Grounds
All employees have certain rights guaranteed by this code, and it is illegal to discriminate against a person based on certain characteristics called prohibited (protected) grounds. These include:
- Marital status
- Family status
- Sexual orientation
- Place of origin
- Race or perceived race
- Receipt of public assistance
- Gender identity
For example, you can ask an employer for special considerations to deal with a disability, or to practice your religion. An employer is expected to meet such requests as best as they can. As well, an employer must hire employees based on their qualifications. Employers cannot refuse to hire someone because of their skin colour or religion.
Public Areas of Life
The Code also protects you from public areas of life, such as employment and occupations, education, housing, public services, legal contracts or purchase of property and more.
The following actions are not discrimination under the Code:
- Discipline for not doing your work properly when you know how it should be done, or for doing something illegal at work.
- Work assignments, reviews, coaching, evaluation or discipline done by a Manager or a Supervisor for valid reasons.
Appropriate discipline in the workplace might involve a verbal or written warning or a suspension from work with no pay for 1 to 3 days, unless it is a more serious issue.
Harassment is discrimination under the Code when it involves the protected grounds such as race, religion or sex, and is done in a public area of life such as the workplace, school or housing. It includes jokes that hurt your feelings, someone calling you a bad name, inappropriately touching you or wrongly denying you benefits.
For example, a supervisor or co-worker makes negative comments about your age, race or religious practices that you find offensive. As a result, you experience negative conditions at work. This would be discrimination in employment based on the protected grounds of age, race and religion.
Accommodation and Duty to Accommodate
Sometimes an employee may need to change how their work is done because of a disability or religious practice or reason related to another prohibited ground. The Code requires employers to try to accommodate – or make adjustments – so that the can do their job.
The employee and the employer need to co-operate to find a suitable accommodation. The employee must let their employer know they need an accommodation and will need to provide medical or other information. The employer needs to explore possible ways of changing the work, working conditions or work environment so the employee can do their job. This is what is meant by the term duty to accommodate. The employer is not required to make changes to the work or workplace if the accommodation would cause an undue hardship, such as causing a workplace to go bankrupt or creating a safety risk for the employee or others.
What to Do If You Think You Have Been Discriminated Against
If you think someone is discriminating against you, you can make a complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, to address the harm the discrimination caused you. There is no cost to make a complaint and you do not need a lawyer to do this. Employees at the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission will answer your questions about the complaint process and assist you with filing a complaint.
It is illegal for your employer to fire you (lose your job) or reduce your hours of work, if you make a complaint of discrimination against them. This is called retaliation. You may seek financial compensation for any losses that result from retaliation.
Problems at Work
If you ever have a problem at work, speak to your work supervisor or your employer. If the problem continues after speaking to them, you can contact Saskatchewan's Immigration Services Program Integrity and Legislation Unit (PILU). The PILU was created to protect the rights of current and future immigrants in Saskatchewan, including temporary foreign workers, permanent residents and applicants to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. The PILU will review any complaint related to the mistreatment, abuse and exploitation of applicants and foreign workers while protecting their privacy and confidentiality.
Temporary Foreign Workers
As a temporary foreign worker, nobody has the right to keep your passport, work permit, or your visa. You should keep all of these documents in a safe place; they are proof that you have permission to stay in Canada.
An employer may ask to see your passport to ensure you are authorized to work in Canada; however, an employer can't keep your passport. If your employer or anyone has taken your passport from you, report this to the police immediately.
You may also want to report this to your embassy. To locate your country's embassy in Canada, visit Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Your employer cannot deport you or force you to leave Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigates immigration violations and removes people who do not have a right to enter or stay in Canada. You can be deported by CBSA if you commit a crime or do not follow Canadian immigration laws.