Employment Standards Act, 2000: Enhanced Enforcement

by Leanne E. Standryk

Written by Leanne E. Standryk, this article canvasses the enforcement features of the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Employment Standards officers, appointed as provincial offences officers under the Provincial Offences Act, now have the authority to issue tickets for violations of the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

On July 14, 2004, Labour Minister Chris Bentley announced the McGuinty government’s latest movement towards enhanced enforcement of employment standards to protect employees. Effective July 1, 2004, employment standards officers may now issue tickets to employers who fail to comply with the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Tickets may result from a variety of violations with a total of fifty-nine (59) ticketable offences. Ticketable offences fall into three (3) main categories:

  • Administrative and enforcement offences
  • Contraventions of wage-based employment standards
  • Contraventions of non wage-based employment standards

Tickets can, therefore, be issued for violations including:

  • Failure to pay wages
  • Failure to retain appropriate records
  • Failure to provide vacation time
  • Requiring employees to work hours in excess of those limits established by the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The authority to issue tickets came into effect July 1, 2004. The tickets carry set fines of $300.00, with a victim fine surcharge added to each set fine.

An employer who has been issued a ticket has the following options:

  • Plead guilty by signing the guilty plea on the ticket and pay the set fine specified on the ticket;
  • Plead guilty, however, appear before a Provincial Court Judge or Justice of the Peace to make submissions on the quantum of the fine imposed;
  • Plead not guilty and give notice of an intention to appear in court to dispute the offence.

This ticketing initiative follows Labour Minister Bentley’s announcement on April 26, 2004:

“The law as written contains the enforcement tools, they just need to be used… Starting today, enforcement is back in style.”

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