Protecting Workers and Increasing Fairness
Ontario is introducing the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act to protect the province's most vulnerable workers and increase fairness for both employees and businesses.
The government is proposing legislative changes in five areas:
Increasing Fairness under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, by:
- Removing the $10,000 cap under the Employment Standards Act on the recovery of unpaid wages owed through a Ministry of Labour order to pay. Employees would no longer need to pursue larger wage claims through the courts, saving both employees and businesses time and money.
- Increasing the time limit for recovery of wages under the Employment Standards Act from six- and twelve-month periods to two years, to ensure older claims are settled fairly and workers get the money they are owed.
- Requiring employers to provide a French and English handout containing information about rights under the Employment Standards Act to employees. If requested, the employer would be required to provide the material in one of 23 other languages prepared by the Ministry of Labour.
Protecting Foreign Employees through:
- Extending the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act to cover all employees who come to Ontario under an immigration or temporary foreign employee program. This would prohibit employers from charging fees for recruitment and placement, and withholding personal documents, such as passports.
Protecting Temporary Help Agency Workers by:
- Introducing 'joint and several liability' between temporary help agencies and their clients. This means making clients jointly and severally liable for unpaid regular wages and unpaid overtime under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. This would help provide employees with better recourse and encourage clients to work with reputable temporary help agencies.
- Amending the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to require the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, under its experience rating programs, to assign workplace injury costs to temporary help agency clients ─ rather than to temporary help agencies ─ when an employee is injured at work.
Protecting Co-Op Students by:
- Extending coverage under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to co-op students, trainees, and other unpaid learners.
Reducing Disruptions in Construction Workplaces through:
- Decreasing the construction industry's open period from three months to two months, reducing risk of disruption due to termination or displacement applications.
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