May 20, 2015 – Ministry of Labour – Ontario Ensuring Workers Understand Rights and Obligations in the Workplace: New changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 come into effect today that will help workers across the province better understand their rights in the workplace.
Starting today, the law will require employers to provide employees with a copy of the province’s employment standards poster, as well as continuing to post it in the workplace where it is likely to be seen. Employers will have until June 19, 2015 to ensure the poster has been distributed.
In the case of new hires, employers will have 30 days from the employee’s start date to provide them with the poster and it must be provided in languages other than English if an employee requests a translated version. Translated versions are available from the Ministry of Labour.
As of today, employment standards officers now have the authority to require employers to conduct a self-audit to ensure the protection of workers’ rights covered under the Employment Standards Act. A self-audit requires employers to review their own records to show Employment Standards Officers that they are meeting the requirements of the Employment Standards Act, which include standards such as:
- Hours of Work
- Eating Periods
- Public Holiday Pay
- Wages and Overtime Pay
These changes are among the provisions of Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, and are part of the many ways that the province is strengthening protections for workers.
Helping employees and employers understand their workplace rights and responsibilities is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history, investing in people’s talents and skills, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Previously, employers were only legally required to post an Employment Standards poster. Now they have to give a copy to their employees.
- The newly-designed Employment Standards Act poster is 8.5”x11” and can be downloaded electronically.
- Employment standards officers previously only “requested,” they could not “require,” an employer do a self- audit.
- Employment standards officers proactively enforce the ESA to protect employees and educate employers about their obligations.