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Ontario to increase fines for 'bad actor' employers

Ontario to increase fines for 'bad actor' employers


Ontario is preparing to crack down on bad employers with hefty fines.

Labor Minister David Piccini said his government would introduce legislation next week that would increase fines for violating the Employment Standards Act.

Piccini says it sends a message to “bad actor” employers: The consequences will be more severe for worker exploitation.

They seek to eliminate organizations that fail to pay salaries, penalize employees who take maternity or parental leave, and achieve unequal pay for equal work.

The maximum fine for those found guilty of breaking the law will increase from $50,000 to $100,000.

Department of Labor investigators will now have the ability to issue fines of $5,000 to repeat offenders, instead of $1,000, which can be multiplied based on the number of employees affected by a violation of the law.

“We are sending a clear message: As our economy grows and we attract all of this incredible investment, we are going to protect workers,” Piccini said.

“We know that through blitzes conducted over the past several years, we have uncovered bad actors.”

A recent ministry investigation found that 10,000 Ontario workers owe a total of $4.2 million, Piccini said.

“This sends us a signal that we need to do more to protect our workers in Ontario,” he said.

The new fines are part of an omnibus labor bill scheduled to be introduced in the Legislature on Monday.

It will provide wildland firefighters with the same cancer, heart and post-traumatic stress coverage as municipal firefighters. The province is creating a new high school apprenticeship pathway to a diploma that the government hopes will meet demand for skilled trades.

And the province will also remove sick note requirements for short-term absences, in an effort to reduce the workload on overworked family doctors.




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