Can an employer charge me money to get hired?

You don’t have to pay money or a fee to an employer so that you can start work.

But before they hire you, an employer might ask you to pay for things like:

  • looking at your job application
  • supplies or equipment that you need to do the job
  • training that you need to do the job

The law says you should not have to pay for these things. You might hear people talk about employers charging an “illegal fee”.

Some people choose to pay because they really want the job.

But sometimes when companies ask for these fees there is no job. It’s just a way to trick you into giving them money.

This has happened to people who answered ads that said if you pay the company:

  • they will give you office cleaning jobs
  • you can make a lot of money from home doing things like stuffing envelopes or making cheap craft products
  • they will use the money for a visa to get you a job outside Canada

Who can charge fees

An employment or recruitment agency, sometimes called a “headhunter”, can charge you a fee if they find you a permanent job.

Then, you’re hired by the employer that you’ll be working for.

When you work with a recruitment agency, make sure to find out how much their fee will be.

Who cannot charge fees

A temporary help agency, sometimes called a “temp agency”, cannot ask you to pay for them to find you a job or help you find a job.

These agencies place you in a job for a period of time. And your employer is the temp agency, not the business where you’re working.

Paying for things once you’re hired

An employer can ask you to pay for a uniform or other personal items for work, like a pair of work boots.

They can take the cost of the item from your pay only if you agree in writing about the amount.

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