So I'm in a bit of a tricky situation right now, and would like some advice. Here is the relevant background information:

  1. I am a salaried employee (engineer in training) based in Ontario, Canada. Engineers (and those in line to become an engineer) legally are not entitled to overtime pay.
  2. In my contract the "hours of work" are outlined as Monday-Friday 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.
  3. In the same contract (which I have signed) there is a termination clause stating that "breach of employee policies may result in termination".
  4. In the company policies, the "hours of work" has been amended to include "from time to time employees may be required to work for more than 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week as the work of demands.
  5. I have never signed this policy and therefore have never, in writing, agreed to work overtime without compensation.

Sparing you the details; I am currently looking for a new job - but most of my freetime hours are necessary for this process.

I am now being asked to work overtime hours in the following week - but I don't think I can in good conscience do so (I need the extra time). At the very least I believe I would work the overtime if I was getting paid for it. I do remember seeing somewhere that an employee cannot be forced to work overtime if they have not verbally or in writing, agreed to work the overtime..

However, I do not believe at this point that they will compensate me for the overtime. If I refuse to work these overtime hours, am I able to be terminated because of the clause stated in #4?

  • 2
    I am a little confused. You "need the extra time" but "would work the overtime if [you were] getting paid for it". This seems contradictory, unless you have a side job or something.
    – sharur
    Oct 14, 2016 at 17:33
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    @sharur I understand the confusion, I didn't want to over-detail the question as it's already pretty long. But essentially I'm looking for a job mainly because of financial reasons (current isn't paying enough to cover my rent) as well as other environmental reasons (current job is really toxic). So although I really need a new job, if the current one can net me more money in the interim, then I can make the sacrifice for time applying..I have another question on Workplace to see how to go about asking for compensation if I must. They suggested to move the law aspects here. Oct 14, 2016 at 18:24
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    Unless you are in a federally regulated industry your employment is governed by provincial law so you need to tell us if you are governed by national or provincial law and, if the latter, which provence.
    – Dale M
    Oct 14, 2016 at 21:22
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    @DaleM Governed by provincial law (Ministry of Labour - Ontario), and as mentioned in the question - the province is Ontario. Thanks. Oct 17, 2016 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


perhaps this thread will help: https://www.quora.com/Can-an-employee-in-Alberta-be-fired-for-refusing-to-work-overtime

I think it is unethical but the overtime laws vary by province.

  • 2
    We discourage answers that outsource the bulk of the content because it makes this site less self contained. Are you able to rework your response?
    – Pat W.
    Aug 28, 2020 at 15:17

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