A corporation's failure to pay wages can lead to serious consequences for its directors.  Last week, a director of several Ontario corporations, Steven Blondin, was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to failing to comply with 113 orders to pay issued under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 ("ESA").

The orders to pay unpaid wages were issued by the Ministry of Labour between 2008 and 2010.  Under sections 136 and 137 of the ESA, a director can be found guilty of an offence if he/she fails to comply with an order to pay issued by the Ministry of Labour.  Penalties include monetary fines of up to $50,000 per offence as well as imprisonment.

Mr. Blondin and his companies were ordered to pay a total of $280,000 in fines and reimburse the employees for their lost wages.  In addition, a victim fine surcharge of 25% was applied.  These funds will be used to assist victims of crime in Ontario.

The decision stands as a stern warning from the Ministry of Labour that it will use the tools in its arsenal to ensure that employees receive their due compensation.