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How do I get a social insurance number?

You need to complete a Social Insurance Number (SIN) application form and follow instructions posted on the Service Canada website.

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I landed my first job! What should I remember?

Landed your first part-time job? Worried about dealing with ďworkĒ stuff? Relax. Itís normal to be anxious about a new job.

Working part-time is a good way to earn money, gain valuable work experience and meet new people. So, take it seriously. Show that you are dependable by always being on time. Treat your co-workers and customers with respect. And if you donít know what to do, simply ask questions!

Sometimes, it can be tough to balance school and work. And if you need help, talk to your schoolís guidance counsellor or someone at your local youth employment centre. The Ministry of Labour has lots of other useful advice for young workers, including what you should know about safety at the workplace (PDF).

Here are some common situations you may find yourself in:

You donít fully understand what you need to do.
The only way to learn is to ask questions. Unfortunately, thereís no secret gateway to knowledge! Ask for instructions to be repeated if you donít understand what you should do.

Your workplace asks that you wear a certain kind of clothing.
Save your favourite hoodie and torn jeans for home. You need to pay attention to your appearance and dress in clean clothes. At work, wear your uniform or dress like your co-workers and if it means wearing more formal clothes than you usually wear, then just do it. Look at what other employees wear at work to get some ideas.

Youíre going to be late for work.
Call your boss and let her or him know that you are running late. Donít say youíll be ten minutes late when youíre going to be 20 minutes late! Tell your boss exactly how long you will take and get there as soon as you can.

You need time off.
When you need time off to study, for a medical appointment or to attend a family event, for example, give your boss enough notice (at least a week or two in advance) so that someone can replace you at work. Always tell your boss about upcoming appointments or discuss future holiday plans as soon as possible.

Youíre not getting the right pay.
Pay day is the best part of working! Not sure what youíre entitled to? Or when you should be paid? Find answers to your pay-related questions at the Ministry of Labour. If you have a problem, bring it up in a clear, direct way with your employer and ask them to look into it.

You want to reduce or increase hours at work.
Talk to your boss at a convenient time and ask for less or more hours. Explain why youíre asking for this change and emphasize that the job is important to you. If youíre thinking of increasing your hours, remember that working and studying can be demanding. If your grades are suffering, focus on school for now till you can handle both well.

You made a mistake working on the cash counter. You didnít own up to it but your manager may know about your error.
Admit your mistake. Itís easier than waiting for your boss to say something. You also win some brownie points for taking the honest approach. Then figure out where you went wrong with your bossí help so it doesnít happen again.

Your new job isnít what you expected.
Sometimes jobs donít pan out as promised. Maybe thereís other work on the job site youíd like to do so talk to your boss. Your part-time job is a good opportunity to try out something different. So why not give it a shot?

You donít get along with your boss and are considering complaining to the bossí supervisor.
Does your boss treat everyone the same way? Or are you overreacting? Talking to the senior supervisor is a very serious step. You should do that only when youíre convinced that you are being singled out at work. Talk to your parents or a counsellor first to ask for advice. If youíre feeling very uncomfortable at work, think about searching for a new job.

You have a disability and your interviewer didnít ask about any special needs that you may have at the workplace.
You should call back and tell your interviewer about your special needs. The company may already be accessible or may consider it once you bring it up. Visit Access Ontario for more information for people with disabilities.

Your customers yell at you.
Donít scream back! Remember that you are the ďfaceĒ of the company you work for. Itís best to call your manager immediately to handle customers like these.

You need to quit work.
Always give your employers enough warning when youíre leaving. Youíll need references for your next job so part ways on a good note. Most retail jobs expect a two-week notice. You can give this verbally to your supervisor. If you want to return again, let them know that youíve appreciated the opportunity of working there and youíd be interested in returning in the future.

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What are my rights as a worker?

Read about employment standards and what young workers should know.

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I'm worried about my safety at work. Where can I get information?

The WorkSmart Ontario website discusses how to be safe at work and how to be treated fairly.

Also check out: Prevent-it.ca and the Young Workers' Zone.

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