“Serious problem” in Ontario workplaces

An expert panel has criticized the enforcement of employment standards across Canada’s most populous province.

Ontario has come under fire this week after an expert panel claimed there is a “serious problem” with the enforcement of employment standards across the province.

“We conclude there are too many people in too many workplaces who do not receive their basic rights,” said the advisers, appointed to do the first review of the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act since the 1990s.

The two-man panel released an interim report on Wednesday which said labour ministry inspections of work sites found violations of the Act between 75 and 77 per cent of the time.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said he was most worried about young people and new arrivals to the country who may be vulnerable to exploitation – particularly in the retail, hospitality and construction sectors.

“Unfortunately there's a bit of an underbelly as well where we get a lot of complaints from certain sectors from people who feel they're being taken advantage of,” he said.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce said changes to labour laws wouldn’t solve the problem.

“We believe that many of the problems with the bad apples that exist are happening simply as a result of not enforcing the current legislation,” said VP Karl Baldauf.

“Rather than create more onerous regulations, perhaps we should get serious about better enforcing existing regulations,” he added.

Written with contibutions from The Canadian Press 

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