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Blitz Results: Vulnerable and Temporary Foreign Workers

  • Issued: April 1, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: April 2015

The provincial vulnerable and temporary foreign workers blitz ran from September 1 to November 30, 2014, and was the fifth province-wide employment standards blitz conducted by the Ministry of Labour.

The ministry considers vulnerable workers to be those who work in sectors where they may be at greater risk of having their rights violated, and who may lack the ability or resources to understand their rights. Vulnerable workers may include temporary foreign workers, young workers, newcomers to Canada, and those whose first language is neither English nor French.

The purpose of the blitz was to promote compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in industry sectors that often employ vulnerable workers, as well as to educate employers in these sectors about their ESA obligations. The types of workplaces inspected included:

  • restaurants
  • personal care services (e.g., hair, esthetics, massage services, etc.)
  • business support services
  • horticulture (e.g. nurseries, greenhouses, etc.)
  • agriculture (e.g. vegetable farming, cattle ranching, etc.)

Officers checked for compliance with core ESA standards, with a particular focus on:

  • public holidays
  • vacation pay
  • minimum wage
  • record-keeping
  • payment of wages

During the blitz, employment standards officers delivered educational packages to every workplace inspected. The packages included:

Results

Vulnerable workers

206 inspections were completed:

  • 35 employers were compliant and no violations were found.
  • 171 employers were found to be non-compliant. As a result, 535 compliance “tools” (e.g., Compliance Order, Notice of Contravention or Part 1 Ticket) were issued.
  • 99.9 per cent of the monies owing to employees assessed during the blitz were paid voluntarily by the employer.
  • Over $175,390 was recovered for 1,406 employees.
  • The most common monetary violations were for:
    • public holiday pay
    • vacation pay
    • overtime pay
  • The most common non-monetary violations were for:
    • record-keeping
    • hours of work – excess daily/weekly
    • vacation pay – written agreements

Temporary foreign workers

50 inspections were completed:

  • 23 employers were compliant and no violations were found.
  • 27 employers were found to be non-compliant. As a result, 53 compliance “tools” (e.g., Compliance Order, Notice of Contravention or Part 1 Ticket) were issued.
  • 100 per cent of the monies owing to temporary foreign workers assessed during the blitz were paid voluntarily by the employer.
  • Over $34,725 was recovered for 127 temporary foreign workers.
  • The most common monetary violations were for:
    • deduction from wages
    • public holiday pay
    • vacation pay
  • The most common non-monetary violations were for:
    • posting requirement
    • record-keeping
    • vacation pay – written agreements

Compliance enforcement summary

An employment standards officer can issue a non-monetary Compliance Order if the officer finds that the employer has contravened the ESA. The officer can order an employer or other person to stop contravening a provision and to take certain steps to comply.

  • 467 Compliance Orders were issued during the vulnerable workers blitz.
  • 50 Compliance Orders were issued during the temporary foreign workers blitz.

An employment standards officer may also issue an Offence Notice (“ticket”) under Part I of the Provincial Offences Act, carrying a fine of $295 plus a victim fine surcharge.

  • 52 Part 1 Tickets were issued during the vulnerable workers blitz.
  • 2 Part 1 Tickets were issued during the temporary foreign workers blitz.

Employment standards officers have the power to issue Notices of Contravention with prescribed penalties starting at $250 when they believe an employer has contravened a provision of the ESA.

  • 16 Notices of Contravention were issued during the vulnerable workers blitz.
  • 1 Notice of Contravention was issued during the temporary foreign workers blitz.