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
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
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.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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