Ontario government to introduce important changes to Employment Standards Act

In December 2013, Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi announced a new Bill that, if passed, would involve significant changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA).Highlights:
  • Eliminating the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages and increasing the period of recovery from six and 12 months to two years for employees. This would help keep more disputes out of the court system, saving both employees and businesses time and money.
  • Making temporary help agencies and their clients liable for employment standards violations, helping to decrease the number of companies that hire individuals solely to work in unsafe conditions.
  • Health and Safety protections extended to co-op placement students.
  • Prohibiting employers from charging fees and seizing personal documents like passports from temporary foreign workers by extending the application of the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals to cover all foreign employees who come to Ontario under an immigration or temporary foreign employee program.

Many of the proposed amendments to the ESA were recommended by the Law Commission of Ontario’s Report on Vulnerable WorkersAndrew Pinto is a member of the Law Commission’s Board of Governors.

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