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Are Probationary Periods Legal in Canada?

Employees and employers are frequently mistaken about the legality of probationary periods as they relate to non-unionized employees. Terminated employees who are advised that they failed to pass the probationary period rarely take legal action to counter such assertion – but some do. Employers terminate employees and offer nothing under the same belief, only to be proven wrong when an employee successfully sues them. Such misconception, often ending up in the courtroom, proves costly for the uninformed party.

The mistake lies in the misunderstanding of the application of provincial legislation to the employment context. Provincial legislation mandates that every employer honour minimum employment standards. Under these standards an employee who fails to meet the requirements expected of him during the probationary period can be fired without any notice or liability. The simplicity of this legislation gives both employers and employees the confidence that such use of the probationary ...

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