An employer may only deduct money from an employee's wages if they are legally required to do so or the employee approves the deduction in writing.

Legally-required deductions include:

  • Federal income tax
  • Federal Employment Insurance premiums (EI)
  • Canada Pension Plan contributions (CPP)
  • A court order to garnish wages

If an employee agrees in writing, deductions can also include:

  • Medical premiums
  • Repayment of payroll advances
  • Purchases made from an employer
  • Accidental overpayments

Wage assignments

An assignment of wages is a deduction that an employee requests for their own reasons.

An employee can make a written request to assign some of their wages to a third party, including:

  • A trade union under the Labour Relations Code
  • A tax-deductible charity or other organization
  • A tax-deductible pension or superannuation plan
  • An insurance company for medical or dental coverage
  • A person entitled to maintenance payments through the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program
  • A debtor, such as a credit card company, bank or collection agency

Employers must send assigned wages to the third party within one month of deducting them.

To cancel an assignment, an employee must give notice in writing to both the employer and the person or organization being paid.

Business expenses

It's illegal to make employees pay for business expenses, even if they agree to it.

Expenses that result from any of the following situations cannot be deducted by an employer:

  • Stolen or damaged company property
  • Cash shortages
  • Poor quality of work
  • A customer doesn't pay

If an employer makes an employee pay for a business expense, Employment Standards can:

  • Recover the money as unpaid wages
  • Fine the employer from $500 to $10,000 depending on the situation

What you can do

If you're having issues at work, find out what you can do: