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Enhanced Proactive Inspections

In addition to claims, employment standards officers also conduct proactive inspections of workplaces.

The use of proactive inspections educates and makes the employer aware of their employment standards responsibilities, helps identify and deter non-compliance before violations arise and complaints are filed, and makes MOL’s presence known in high-risk sectors.

In 2014-15 a total of 2,415 inspections were completed, including 413 compliance check inspections. There are 35 ESOs dedicated to conducting proactive inspections.

An increased investment in the Dedicated Enforcement Team increased the number of officers to 35 ESOs as of December 1, 2014; with a view to further increasing the complement in 2015-16. The additional investment means that the team will conduct a minimum of 3,000 proactive inspections in 2015-16 and significantly increase the levels of unpaid wages recovered for higher numbers of vulnerable workers.

The team will continue to focus on repeat violators and sectors with a history of non-compliance and those that employ the most vulnerable workers. By preventing ESAviolations, MOL can make a positive difference in the most vulnerable sectors.

Education, Outreach and Partnership

The Education, Outreach and Partnership (EOP) strategy is a Ministry of Labour initiative designed to create an environment where employers and employees understand their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000(ESA).

Annual stakeholder consultations are held as part of the EOP strategy. This consultation is designed to help the program cultivate relationships and create dialogue with key internal parties (such as field staff) and external stakeholder groups representing the interests of small business employers and vulnerable workers (including young workers and newcomers). The advice and recommendations gleaned from these annual consultations feed directly into proactive enforcement and education/outreach planning for the following fiscal year. The program held its third annual stakeholder consultation in December 2014.

The program has developed a series of web-based tools which are available on the Ministry of Labour website at Ontario.ca/ESAtools. These tools are a key part of the supports and services available to help employers and employees be more self-reliant in resolving employer-employee issues and be more compliant with the ESA. The tools have been used more than 5 million times to date and over 80% of satisfaction survey respondents say they find the tools to be helpful.

The EOP conducts ongoing outreach efforts throughout the year focusing on three key groups: small business employers, young workers and newcomers. Outreach efforts involve forming partnerships with key employer and employee advocacy groups; carrying out campaigns aimed at promoting awareness of material (e.g., hosting links on stakeholder websites, developing and distributing toolkits featuring ready-to-use information for stakeholders to copy-and-paste into their newsletters, websites, etc); leveraging inter-ministerial partnerships to reach target groups; and identifying outreach opportunities within stakeholder structures (i.e. stakeholder newsletters, professional development workshops for employment and settlement counsellors).