Ministry of Labour Announces Results of Compliance Blitz

Late last week the Ontario Ministry of Labour posted the outcome of its recent blitz focused on temporary foreign workers and young workers. For the purpose of the blitz, workers under 25 were classified as “young workers.” Both categories of workers are considered to be vulnerable by the Ministry of Labour. 

The stated goal of the blitz was to educate employers and promote compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) in sectors that frequently employ these types of workers, with a particular focus on the food services, retail trade and construction industries.   The Ministry conducted inspections of 273 workplaces associated with young workers and 70 workplaces associates with temporary foreign workers.  Some notable results were as follows:
 

  • Of the 273 workplaces affected by the young workers blitz, 231 were found to be non-compliant with the ESA.  The most common areas of non-compliance were in connection with public holiday pay, overtime, vacation pay, record-keeping and hours of work. 
  • Of the 70 workplaces affected by the temporary foreign workers blitz, 43 were found to be non-compliant.   In these workplaces, the most common compliance issues focused on public holiday pay overtime, vacation record keeping and posting obligations.
  • In total, the Ministry ordered payment of $294,000 to affected employees and issued 965 “compliance tools”.  Compliance tools is the term used to refer to compliance orders, notices of contravention, tickets and orders to pay wages.  When a ticket is issued by the Ministry, it includes a fine of $295 plus a victim fine surcharge. 

As always, news like this is a good reminder for Ontario employers to review their policies and records to ensure that they are up to date with the requirements of the ESA.  This is particularly true now that there is a requirement for employers to conduct self-audits for compliance with the ESA.
 
The Ministry is still in the process of conducting a “Repeat Violators” blitz, which is scheduled to conclude at the end of October.  We will keep you updated on the results of that blitz and any takeaways for Ontario employers.