Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Employment Standards Officers Coming to Newmarket (and beyond): Are You Ready?

The majority of investigations by the Ministry of Labour are prompted by complaining employees, but the Ministry does maintain a practice of proactive workplace inspections.  And, courteously enough, they warn us in advance what kind of inspections they're going to be doing with this handy "blitz" schedule.

In June and July of 2014, the areas north and west of Toronto - York Region, Peel Region, Dufferin County, and Simcoe County - are targeted for an Employment Standards blitz for veterinary clinics and security services.

In other words, it's really important for such businesses to ensure that they are ESA-compliant asap.

There are a number of things that the inspector will be looking at, including (but not limited to):

  • Is the Employment Standards poster properly posted?
  • Are you providing proper wage statements to your employees?
  • Are you making any unauthorized deductions from your employees' wages?
  • Are you keeping all the appropriate records?
  • Are you complying with the "hours of work" and "eating periods" parts of the ESA?
  • Are you providing overtime pay as required?
  • Are you paying your employees at least minimum wage?
  • Are you complying with the requirements related to public holidays?
  • Are you paying vacation pay as necessary?
The inspector will look at a number of documents, including schedules, timesheets, payroll ledgers, wage statements, etc., as well as interviewing employees.

If problems are identified, then the employer may be subject to a full audit.  In addition, the inspector may issue orders to comply, orders to pay compensation to employees, and offence notices for contraventions of the ESA, which can include fines or more serious penalties.

Other Blitzes

Addressing a growing controversy in recent years, the Ministry of Labour is now in the middle of a Province-wide blitz targeting unpaid internships in the Marketing/Public Relations, Software Development, Retail, Media, Film, and Entertainment industries, as well as a range of other employment standards and OHS blitzes in other industries.


This blog is not intended to and does not provide legal advice to any person in respect of any particular legal issue, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship with any readers, but rather provides general legal information. If you have a legal issue or possible legal issue, contact a lawyer.

The author is a lawyer practicing in Newmarket, primarily in the areas of labour and employment law and civil litigation.  If you need legal assistance, please contact him for information on available services and billing.

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