The province plans to hire up to 175 more employment standards officers and launch a program to educate both employees and small and medium-sized businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act. Education will help employers understand their obligations. Once the new employment standards officers are hired by 2020-2021, the Employment Standards program will resolve all claims filed within 90 days and inspect 1 in 10 Ontario workplaces. Additionally, the program will provide compliance assistance to new employers specifically focusing on medium and small business. This will help good employers understand their obligations. Enforcement will focus on employers who compete unfairly by breaking the law, and will level the playing field for the majority of employers that follow the rules. Increased enforcement will aim to motivate compliance and deter non-compliance. This requires resources in enforcement and in education to impact employer behaviour and deter potential violators.
The Special Advisors stated that “The employer community, which is overwhelmingly law-abiding and respectful of the rights of its employees under labour law and the constitution, will have no interest in protecting those employers who violate the law and who undermine the integrity of the secret ballot process.”
The OCC supports taking action against those who willfully ignore their obligations under the law. Fundamental to this, however, is ensuring that appropriate steps are taken to educate employers.
We believe that the strong language in the Final Report of the Changing Workplaces Review is appropriate. We would further suggest broader coordination and communication between the Ministry of Labour and other ministries within government to enhance a single-point of contact between government and businesses, especially small businesses.