CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Bad bosses facing fines

The Ontario government is stepping up its fight against labour violations by authorizing officials to issue $300 tickets to non-compliant employers, Labour Minister Chris Bentley said last week.

"Our government is committed to more rigorous enforcement of employment standards," Bentley said in a release.

"Tickets will deter employers from taking advantage of vulnerable workers and will level the playing field for the majority who comply with the law."

Fine or court appearance

Employers can either pay the fine or appear in provincial court to fight the charge.

About 2,000 inspections and follow-up visits in sectors with high rates of non-compliance are underway, Bentley said.

Under provincial law, employment standards officers can issue tickets to employers for a range of violations, including failure to pay wages or requiring employees to work too many hours.

Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, said he hopes the tickets will pressure employers into complying with the law.

"This sends a message to employers that violations won't be condoned," he said. "Are the fines high enough? No. Is the enforcement mechanism rigid enough? That remains to be seen, but it's an important first step."

Tickets are generally issued for minor violations that do not raise complex legal issues.

Money collected from the fines will go to the municipality in which the offence took place, while the victim fine surcharge will go into the provincial Victims' Justice Fund account.

In April, a group of immigrant workers demanded an Ontario government crackdown on employers they accused of taking advantage of their lack of English.

Toronto's Workers Information Centre accused the province of having a dismal record of going after employers whose workers toil long hours in cramped warehouses for little more than minimum wage, only to see their cheques bounce.

-- CP

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