Several factors had led to a substantial increase in the volume of incoming employment standards claims in the past few years. Because of recent economic challenges, more vulnerable employees were relying on our Employment Standards Officers to ensure they were being treated fairly in the workplace. Fewer unionized workers in the private sector have led to increased reliance on the Employment Standards Act. In 2006, the ministry improved the claims filing process by allowing online submissions. This has all led to a backlog of claims.
On August 30, 2010, the Employment Standards Task Force began eliminating the backlog of employment standards claims. In less than a year, the ministry has reduced the backlog by two-thirds. The elimination of the backlog – slated for March 2012 – will allow the ministry to continue partnering with employer and employee groups to shift more resources to inspections.
Employers want to comply with the law because it is the right thing to do. The ministry is helping them to do just that. Employers also want to comply with the Employment Standards Act because they know it benefits them – compliance can reduce legal costs, improve staff retention and increase productivity. The vast majority of employers know that a fair workplace is a productive and efficient workplace – making for a better bottom line.
As part of the Ministry of Labour's compliance strategy, Employment Standards Officers work with employers, and employer and worker groups, to help them understand and comply with the Employment Standards Act, by providing them with education, resources and tools. As of June 2011, the ministry's web-based tools have attracted more than 330,000 users.
The ministry is helping businesses comply with legislation, thus saving them time and money, by heading off employment standards issues before they occur. That also includes working with businesses to help them understand employment standards law through a wealth of online resources.
Greg Dennis, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7710
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405