This fall, an enforcement blitz is focusing on interns at workplaces across the province with a focus on the Greater Toronto Area.
Between September 1 and December 31, 2015, Ministry of Labour employment standards officers are visiting select workplaces believed to have internship programs.
They are checking for contraventions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) involving interns and whether those individuals are employees under the ESA and, therefore, entitled to be paid.
Certain types of work arrangements are not covered by the ESA. Such arrangements can include individuals working in secondary school co-op work experience programs for credit or programs approved by a college of applied arts and technology or university.
Sometimes a non-student receiving training from an employer can also be exempt. As well, volunteers are not covered by the ESA.
Exempt individuals are not entitled to receive wages or other entitlements under the ESA.
However, an individual would be entitled to receive minimum wage and other entitlements if an employment standards officer finds the intern is an employee under the ESA and that no exemptions apply.
Officers are conducting proactive inspections in certain sectors.
The officers will take enforcement action, as appropriate, in response to any contraventions of the ESA.
If wages are found to be owed, employers will be asked to voluntarily comply and pay the owed wages.
If an employer does not voluntarily pay, an officer will issue an “order to pay wages” to the employer. Additional enforcement action may also be taken.
If the employer disagrees with the officer’s decision, the employer will have 30 days after the order is served to file an application for review with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). The OLRB can affirm, amend or quash the officer’s order or can vary the order by reducing or increasing the amount the officer found was owing.
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