The Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced that it is taking steps to increase its enforcement of the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Central to the new enforcement initiative is the hiring of an additional 18 Employment Standards Officers and staff, and the conducting of more proactive workplace inspections.   Practically speaking, this means that ESOs will attend at provincially-regulated Ontario employers’ places of business without a complaint being filed, and without any warning, to conduct inspections of the businesses’ practices, policies, and records for compliance with the ESA.  In such cases, employers are required to co-operate with the inspection and to produce documents requested by the ESO.  In turn, ESOs have the power to issue compliance orders or orders to pay and, in some cases, to lay charges against the employer.

Employment standards investigations are time-consuming and may be costly for businesses, both in terms of the resources that must be devoted to the audit itself and, potentially, in rectifying ESA compliance issues and paying amounts owing under any orders issued. 

Employers should consider conducting an employment standards audit of their business to reduce the risk of a proactive inspection uncovering unanticipated liability and resulting in orders being issued against the employer.  For more information on auditing your workplace to ensure ESA compliance, please view our webcast at:

If you would like assistance with your employment standards audit or, if an ESO arrives for a proactive employment standards audit, please contact one of FMC’s employment and labour lawyers.

To review the Ministry of Labour’s Press Release, please see: