Ontario stepping up enforcement to protect worker rights
Government is making sure new worker rights under its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs are followed.
TORONTO — Ontario is backing up its Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act by stepping up enforcement efforts to ensure employers comply with the legislation.
The Ontario Liberals labour reforms hike the minimum wage, and alter employment standards to ensure equal pay for part-time workers, increase vacation entitlements and expand personal emergency leave.
Business groups have voiced concerns and opposition to some of the changes to labour standards, especially the timetable for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019. They say the increase comes too quickly for some companies to absorb the added costs and warn of layoffs and possible closings.
The Ontario government is following up the legislation with enhanced workplace enforcement, penalties and education.
It’s hiring up to 175 additional employment standards officers to enforce standards; launching a program to educate businesses and employees about their rights and obligations under employment standards laws; and increasing penalties to non-compliant employers from $250, $500 and $1,000 to $350, $700 and $1,500, for the first, second and third (or subsequent) contravention of the act within a three-year period.
New ways to ensure enforcement of penalties against employers who refuse to pay employees will be introduced, including the ability to issue warrants and register liens on personal property, and employers that don’t comply will be publicly outed.