Workers' Action Centre



Workers

December 04, 2013 11:47 ET

New Reforms Expand Protection for Ontario Workers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 4, 2013) - The Ontario government has responded to calls to address rising employment standards violations and precarious work by introducing a package of reforms that expands protection against wage theft, brings in new rules for temp agencies and bans recruitment fees for all migrant workers.

Under the proposed legislation both temp agencies and client companies would be liable for employment standards violations, and employers who violate the law will face more penalties. In addition, workers will have up to 2 years to file employment standards claims, with no monetary limit.

"Wage theft is increasing across Ontario because many employers know there is no cost to breaking the law," says Tom Wu, a Workers' Action Centre member. "We have been fighting to make sure workers, including temporary agency workers, have better protection at work. We now need the government to use stronger and more effective enforcement tools to fully protect workers on the job."

"Getting rid of the unfair $10,000 limit for employment standards claims and giving workers 2 years to file claims is a significant victory for Ontario workers, especially migrant workers" says Senthil Thevar, a former migrant worker who is owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. "If these laws had existed a few years ago, I could have claimed the thousands of dollars of my stolen wages immediately rather than being forced to go to court."

"If we want decent jobs in Ontario, we need to fix the gaps in outdated labour laws that let unscrupulous employers get around basic standards, says Deena Ladd, co-ordinator of the Workers' Action Centre. "Increasing protection for temp agency workers by making client companies liable for violations is an important first step, but we also need to make sure temp workers get equal pay for equal work. We need to close the gaps so that all workers are covered under the law."

"Banning recruitment fees for all migrant workers is an important first step, but it is just the beginning," says Liza Draman of the Caregivers Action Centre. "Ontario must license recruiters and register employers who hire migrant workers. Employers must be held financially responsible if workers pay fees and migrant workers need comprehensive new protections to ensure equal rights at work."

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