Question: I have a garnishment on my wages at work. I was not notified by my employer that this was taking place. I also have no idea who is doing this to me, nor does anyone at my employment. what I need to know is can my employer legally accept a garnishment of my wages without letting me know? and if not, are they obligated to pay me back what they’ve taken without my knowledge or consent?
Answer: There are a number of ways that a wage garnishment can start in Ontario.
First, you may have voluntarily allowed your wages to be garnisheed. For example, if you took out a pay day loan, you probably signed a voluntary assignment of your wages, allowing them to send a letter to your employer to garnishee your wages.
Second, a credit union in Ontario can also garnishee your wages if you don’t pay your credit union loan.
Third, if you owe back taxes, Canada Revenue Agency can garnishee your wages without a court order.
In all other cases, a court order is required to garnishee your wages. The creditor must sue you, win, and get a judgment against you, which can be enforced by garnisheeing your wages.
You say that “I also have no idea who is doing this to me, nor does anyone at my employment.” That’s impossible; someone at your employment know who is garnisheeing you, because someone got a piece of paper telling them to garnishee your wages. We suggest that you contact your payroll person, or the president of the company if necessary, to find out who started the wage garnishment. If it’s for a payday loan and you only owe a small amount of money, the garnishment will end soon and it may not be an issue.