An employer is required by law to make deductions from employee wages, for example:

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

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

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

Employees can request wage deductions

An employee can make a written request for an assignment of wages – to have part of their wages paid to a third party, for example:

  • A trade union under the Labour Relations Code (union dues under a collective agreement)
  • A charity or other organization (if tax-deductible)
  • A pension or superannuation plan (if tax-deductible)
  • An insurance company for medical or dental coverage
  • A person to whom the employee is required to pay maintenance under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act
  • A debtor like a credit card company, bank or collection agency

Assigned wages must be sent within one month of being deducted. To cancel an assignment, an employee must give notice in writing to both the employer and the person or organization being paid.

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, the Employment Standards Branch can:

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

Find out what you can do

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