Commission Based Jobs in Ontario and Employment Law

Commission Based Jobs and Employment Law

Commission-based jobs are a cornerstone of the Ontario economy, offering individuals the opportunity to earn based on their performance. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of commission-based jobs in Ontario, exploring the intricacies of Commission Agreements, legal rights, and what happens when commissions go unpaid.

What is Commission

In the context of employment and jobs, “commission” refers to a form of compensation that employees receive based on their job performance. Instead of a fixed salary, employees in commission-based roles earn a percentage of the sales they generate or a predetermined amount for each sale or achievement of specific targets. This compensation structure incentivizes employees to work diligently and effectively to increase their earnings, as their income is directly tied to their performance and the outcomes they achieve in their roles. Commission-based jobs are common in sales, real estate, and various other industries where individual performance and results can be measured and rewarded.

The Crucial Role of Commission Agreements

One key to success in commission-based roles is the Commission Agreement. This document outlines essential details, including how commissions are calculated, the targets that must be met, payment schedules, and any limitations on compensation. What’s more, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) in Ontario underscores the importance of Commission Agreements, deeming commissions a form of wage.

Legal Protections and Commission Employee Rights

What if your employer refuses to pay the commissions you’ve earned? Under Ontario law, they simply cannot do that. Unpaid commissions are considered unpaid wages, and employees have a legal right to the commissions they’ve rightfully earned. Employers cannot withhold payment, negotiate amounts, or delay compensation.

Unpaid Commissions: Termination vs. Resignation

Understanding how unpaid commissions are treated depends on the circumstances.

Unpaid Commission Due To Termination of Employment

If an employee is terminated, employers must provide reasonable notice of the termination. This includes accounting for all employment-related compensation, such as commissions, during the notice period, as outlined in section 60(1) of the ESA. Commissions are considered wages and must be paid throughout the reasonable notice period.

Unpaid Commission Due To Resignation

When an employee resigns, the rules surrounding entitlement to commissions differ. Employers are required to pay wages when they are “earned.” The timing of commission payment hinges on the specific terms of the Commission Agreement. If commissions are earned before resignation, they are payable. However, if the agreement states that commissions are paid upon receipt of funds, and this hasn’t occurred at the time of resignation, the employee may forfeit that commission.

How an Employment Law Firm Helps Commission-Based Employees

Navigating the intricacies of employment law, especially as a commission-based employee or employer, can be a complex and sometimes daunting task. This is where an experienced employment law firm, like ours based in Ontario, becomes an invaluable resource. Here’s how our firm can assist you in understanding and complying with the specific requirements for commission-based employees:

1. Experience in Ontario’s Employment Law

Our team of legal professionals focus in Ontario’s employment law. We have an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and legal nuances that commission-based employees encounter in the province. This focus allows us to provide tailored guidance and advice.

2. Drafting and Reviewing Employment Contracts

We can help both employers and employees draft or review employment contracts specific to commission-based jobs. These contracts are essential for outlining the terms and conditions of employment, including commission structures, payment schedules, and any performance expectations.

3. Compliance with Minimum Wage Laws

Ensuring compliance with minimum wage laws is crucial. We can help employers establish commission structures that align with Ontario’s minimum wage requirements, ensuring that commission-based employees receive fair compensation.

4. Overtime and Hours of Work Compliance

For commission-based employees, understanding how overtime laws apply is essential. Our firm can provide guidance on how to structure work hours and compensation to comply with Ontario’s regulations.

5. Termination and Severance Advice

In the event of termination, both employers and employees need to be aware of their rights and obligations. We can offer advice on the appropriate notice periods, severance pay, and the legal procedures involved.

6. Dispute Resolution

Should disputes arise between employers and commission-based employees, our firm is well-equipped to assist in negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, legal representation. We strive to resolve issues efficiently and amicably when possible.

7. Keeping Abreast of Legal Changes

Employment law is subject to change, with updates and amendments occurring over time. Our firm is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest developments in Ontario’s employment laws that may affect commission-based employees.

8. Personalized Legal Solutions

We understand that each commission-based employment situation is unique. Our firm offers personalized legal solutions that take into account the specific circumstances and goals of our clients, whether they are employees or employers.

Commission-based employment comes with its own set of legal considerations, and it’s our mission to provide comprehensive guidance to help you navigate this terrain with confidence.


In the world of commission-based jobs in Ontario, understanding the legal rights, Commission Agreements, and the treatment of unpaid commissions is paramount. This knowledge empowers employees to protect their earnings and maintain financial security. With this comprehensive guide, we’ve shed light on the intricacies of commission-based work in Ontario, ensuring that both employers and employees can navigate this landscape confidently.

Contact Achkar Law

If you’re involved in commission-based jobs, whether as an employer or an employee, our team of experienced HR lawyers at Achkar Law is here to provide assistance.

Contact us by phone toll-free at 1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to help.

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