Ministry of Labour Compliance Blitz - The Results are In

Last year’s Ontario Ministry of Labour ("MOL") compliance blitz reveals that employers are having difficulty maintaining basic employment standards. From May 1 to July 31, 2015, the MOL conducted a series of workplace inspections which focused on compliance with core elements of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). The inspections targeted mainly sectors that employ “vulnerable or precarious workers” where the nature of employment is seasonal, part-time or temporary. The results do not trend well:

  • Of the 304 workplace inspections conducted by the Ministry, 232 (or 76%) employers were found not compliant with the ESA.
  • Over $361,000 was recovered for employees through compliance orders issued by Employment Standards Officers. This is in addition to whatever fines/penalties were issued to the employers.
  • Most common monetary violations:
    • Public holiday pay
    • Overtime pay
    • Vacation pay
  • Most common non-monetary violations:
    • Hours of work – excess daily/weekly hours
    • Vacation pay – written agreements
    • Record-keeping

Most of the offending employers probably did not intentionally contravene the law. More likely they were simply caught unaware. They assumed that someone in their organization was keeping track of the latest legislative amendments or that their existing policies and practices met the basic standards. Unfortunately for the majority of the employers audited, they assumed wrongly.

The results of this latest blitz, coupled with new ESA self-audit requirements which we have previously written about here, highlight the importance of taking a proactive approach towards compliance with core standards. Anticipating and preparing for the eventuality that you will be inspected by the MOL or sent a self-audit to complete is a good start to mitigate your organization’s future risk and liability.

At McCarthy Tétrault, we have developed an HR Compliance & Risk Management Diagnostic tool that helps employers achieve compliance with employment regulations.  It can help reduce the risk of individual employee claims and multi-employee class actions, and mitigate reputational damage caused by embarrassing litigation. We see it as an invaluable tool to help employers navigate increasingly complex employment laws.

 

For more information on compliance issues faced by employers today, please see Tim’s article published in the current issue of The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association Magazine or contact us if you wish to discuss our diagnostic solution in more detail.

audit diagnostic tool Employment Standards Act ESA hours of work Ministry of Labour overtime public holiday pay record-keeping self-audit vacation pay vulnerable worker

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