What to Expect During a Ministry of Labour Employment Standards Investigation!

 The role of an Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) Employment Standards officer is to conduct investigations on claims filed by employees who believe their entitlements under the act have not been paid. In addition, Employment Standards Officers may inspect workplaces to ensure employers comply with 11 core standards of the Employment Standards Act.

 They are:

• Posting of ESA poster

• Wage statements

• Unauthorized deductions

• Record keeping

• Hours of work

• Eating periods

• Overtime pay

• Minimum wage

• Public holidays

• Vacation pay

• Temporary agencies charging fees/not providing information

Since the complaint backlog has been reduced by more than two-thirds, and is slated to be eliminated by March 2012, the ministry is able to increase the number of employment standards officers on its dedicated enforcement team. This means that the Employment Standards program now has more officers doing inspections than ever before; thus, increased inspections. With the scheduled elimination of the backlog, the ministry will partner and consult with employer and employee groups as it shifts resources to inspections.

 However, it was revealed through consultations with employers and labour groups that many people didn’t know what MOL officers looked for when they came to inspect workplaces under the Employment Standards Act. Education and training is key in order to ensure you are ready when the MOL officer comes knocking!