Ontario is helping to protect vulnerable workers – including temporary foreign workers – with a three-month employment standards blitz starting in September.
Ministry of Labour employment standards officers will conduct inspections to determine compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), focusing on sectors known to hire a high proportion of vulnerable or temporary foreign workers, including restaurants, building services, personal care services (e.g., hair, esthetics, massage services), business support services (e.g. collection agencies, call centres) and horticulture (e.g., nurseries, greenhouses).
Employment standards officers will check for compliance with core employment standards under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), with a particular focus on:
- Public holidays
- Vacation pay
- Minimum wage
- Record keeping
- Payment of wages
Protecting workers on the job is part of the Ontario government’s plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.
“Employees across this province deserve respect and fairness in the workplace, and this blitz will help ensure that all employees, especially the most vulnerable ones, have their employment standards rights protected under the law. It also makes good economic sense to ensure a fair and level playing field for all businesses and that those companies that are following the rules aren’t penalized.” — Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour
- Vulnerable and temporary foreign workers, in comparison to the rest of the workforce, have an increased exposure to precarious working conditions, such as seasonal, part-time or temporary work. Many vulnerable workers are at greater risk of having their employment rights violated.
- Between April 2013 and March 2014, the province conducted over 2,700 employment standards inspections, recovering more than $3.1 million in lost wages for employees across Ontario.
- The number of temporary foreign workers in Ontario has increased over 40 per cent – from 91,000 in 2008 to 130,000 in 2013.