Ministry of Labour Finds 78% of Ontario Employers are Breaking the Law

In a time when millennials are worried enough about the security and stability of their jobs, a recent Ontario employment audit has found that an astonishing number of employers are infringing on the law, raising concerns about how secure our jobs actually are.

A recent Ontario Ministry of Labour inspection blitz which focused on targeting precarious employment, has discovered that 78 per cent of employers were in violation of the Employment Standards Act, The Toronto Star reports.

This blitz included the audit of Goodlife Fitness, G4S Security, and Bowlerama, who were caught violating a number of infractions, such as not paying overtime, poor bookkeeping, and having employees work excess hours.

During the province-wide inspection, 304 workplaces were inspected with a focus on precarious sectors like cleaning, security services, and recreation facilities. The Star reports that from the blitz some 238 employers were infringing the law.

After inspecting the employments, the Ministry of Labour found that the most common monetary infractions included overtime, public holiday, and vacation pay.

The ministry was able to collect $361,000 in unpaid wages for workers following this blitz.

When The Star reached out to a number of the employers who were caught breaking the law, they responded by saying they were unaware of some of the regulations they had breeched and said they had addressed and rectified the problems.


“I think what we’re seeing generally is that violations of employment standards are becoming part of the norm. They’re just becoming part of people’s daily experience when they go to work,” said Deena Ladd, of the Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre. Unfortunately, this does feel like it’s becoming the norm, as many of the employees that work in these precarious workplaces are most likely to be the ones who are vulnerable or afraid to speak out against their bosses.

Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn told The Star he was pleased with the precarious employment blitz and that it had generated tangible results, but he did add that “he was disappointed with unacceptable conduct of law-breaking employers.”

Employment inspection blitzes are a new channel for Ministry of Labour enforcement. While many may argue that these inspections are invasive, they shed some light on how recognizable businesses are treating their employers behind the scenes.

What’s more, it’s important to note that according to The Star these blitzes are not triggered by an employee complaint and the employers are given notice that the ministry wants to audit them. So even on a ‘fair’ playing field, three quarters of employers are still failing to do their jobs…