Table of contents

Basic rules

  • An Employment Standards officer may conduct an inspection of an employer’s records to see if employment standards are being met.
  • All inspections aim to ensure employers are meeting minimum standards.
  • Inspections of an employer’s employment practices by an officer can be proactive or as a result of a complaint or anonymous tip.

Difference between proactive and complaint initiated inspections

A workplace inspection is to determine whether the Employment Standards Code and Regulations are being complied with.

  • Proactive inspection – happens as a result of an anonymous tip or as part of a program to ensure compliance with employment standards
  • Complaint initiated inspection – happens as a result of a complaint during the complaint resolution process to determine compliance or non-compliance

Both types of inspections follow the same process. If an employer is found to be non-compliant with the Code or Regulation, the employer can be brought into compliance voluntarily or through enforcement action.

Prepare for an inspection

The employer is notified when an inspection is launched, and the notice is to be posted in a place visible to employees.

An officer may:

  • enter a place of business
  • examine employee records
  • provide written notice requesting an employer or any other person to provide records, reports or information relevant to the inspection
  • conduct an audit of compliance:
    • take records and reports with them for copying and review, which will be returned
  • request an employer to complete an officer-directed audit
  • question an employer or employee
  • ask any person to make an oral or written statement

What happens after an inspection

After an inspection concludes, the notice of inspection findings is to be posted in a visible place for employees to see.

If an employer is found to be non-compliant, an officer may issue an order or direction of officer to bring the employer in compliance with the Code.

  • Monetary non-compliance – it’s determined that money is owed to an employee and an order of officer may be issued
    • This may include fees to be paid to Employment Standards.
    • An order can be appealed.
    • If an employer fails to pay money owed as stated in the order, the Director of Employment Standards may issue a demand for payment from a third party (a bank or other third party indebted to the employer).
  • Non-monetary related non-compliance – the employer hasn’t been following the non-monetary standards (for example, providing employees with required rest periods) and a direction of officer may be issued outlining how the employer should change their actions to be compliant.
    • If the standard not being met relates to employee reinstatement or improper termination of an employee, a Director’s order may be issued.


Any person who fails to comply with the Code or Regulations or fails to comply with an authorizing or enforcement instrument (such as a permit, an order or a direction) is guilty of an offence and could be subject to prosecution. See Prosecutions for more information.

How the law applies

Division 2, Section 77 of the Employment Standards Code and sections of the Regulation outline the process of inspections.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.