Ontario Enhancing Enforcement to Ensure Worker Rights Are Protected
Increased Enforcement, Penalties and Education Will Increase Compliance
Ontario is enhancing workplace enforcement, penalties and education to ensure all new worker rights under its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs are followed. This plan includes raising the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and providing at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer.
To ensure enforcement of enhanced worker rights, Ontario is:
- Hiring up to 175 additional employment standards officers to enforce employment standards
- Launching a program to educate both businesses and employees about their rights and obligations under Ontario's employment standards laws
- Increasing penalties issued by employment standards officers to non-compliant employers from $250, $500 and $1,000 to $350, $700 and $1,500, respectively, for the first, second and third (or subsequent) contravention of the Employment Standards Act within a three-year period
- Introducing new ways to ensure enforcement of penalties against employers who refuse to pay employees, including the ability to issue warrants and register liens on personal property
- Publishing names of employers that don't meet employment standards, including a date and description of the contravention and the penalty
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes raising the minimum wage, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Ontario is investing $500,000 in the Employment Standards Training and Education Program.
- The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 responds to the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review. It was the first-ever independent review of both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.
- The report estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014. In 2016, the median hourly wage was $13 for part-time workers and $24.73 for full-time workers. Over the past 30 years, part-time work has grown to represent nearly 20 per cent of total employment.
- Studies show that a higher minimum wage results in less employee turnover, which increases business productivity.
“Workers deserve to be treated fairly at work. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act addresses the needs of the modern workplace and provides a minimum wage that workers can actually live on. We are hiring more employment standards officers to improve enforcement as well as funding education to ensure workplaces get the essential information they need. We want to ensure everyone who works hard has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity.”