Directors and officers of a corporation: Beware of personal liability under section 96 of the Employment Standards Act


The Employment Standards Act (“the Act”) delineates the minimum standards that apply in most workplaces in British Columbia. It governs the employment of all employees -casual, probationary or temporary- within provincial jurisdiction, whether employed in a full time or part time capacity.

The Act will not apply where the employee is a person excluded from the provisions of the Act under Employment Standards Regulation (“the Regulation”) such as doctors, lawyers, architects and others whose professions are specifically regulated by provincial legislation. Also other non-professionals, under specific circumstances, are excluded from the application of the Act. These include, but are not limited to, persons engaged in government sponsored work programs, sitters, and newspaper carriers.

The Act also does not apply to employees whose work falls within federal jurisdiction such as banking, defence, interprovincial or international transportation, interprovincial and international shipping, air transport as well as employment with the federal government and crown corporations.

If you are or have been a director or officer of a corporation within provincial jurisdiction, it is important that you understand your potential exposure under section 96 of the Act. Section 96(1) states:


96 (1) A person who was a director or officer of a corporation at the time wages of an employee of the corporation were earned or should have been paid is personally liable for up to 2 months' unpaid wages for each employee.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Shafik Bhalloo, Kornfeld LLP ; Adjunct Professor, SFU Beedie School of Business | Attorney Advertising

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Kornfeld LLP ; Adjunct Professor, SFU Beedie School of Business on:

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