Ministry of Labour Releases Results of Most Recent Blitz Against Serial ESA Violators

Written on behalf of Peter McSherry Law Office
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The Ministry of Labour has published the results of its most recent “blitz” against employers who have repeatedly violated the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

What is a Ministry of Labour Blitz?

Ministry of Labour Employment Standards Officers (ESO’s) regularly visit employers across the province to ensure compliance with fundamental ESA standards, such as record keeping, hours of work, overtime pay, minimum wage, and similar.

During these blitzes, ESO’s generally focus on those sectors with histories of employment violations, those industries where vulnerable workers are employed, and sectors that are growing.

Findings are reported soon after the investigations are completed. The Ministry regularly tracks each sector to track trends and determine whether there have been any long-term improvements in compliance.

Overview of the Ministry’s Most Recent Blitz

This recent investigation took place between September 1 and October 31, 2016 when the Ministry’s employment standards officers (ESO’s) conducted a series of inspections focusing on repeat offenders.

Throughout the blitz, ESO’s focused primarily on sectors where precarious employment is high, including professional services (i.e- accounting, law, etc.), building services (i.e- construction), personal care services, and the amusement and recreation industries.

Particular attention was paid to:

  • Minimum wage
  • Wage statements
  • Hours of work
  • Overtime pay
  • Vacation with pay
  • Public holidays
  • Eating periods
  • Unauthorized deductions
  • Record-keeping
  • Poster requirements.


Total inspections undertaken 104
Inspections which found no violations 27
Inspections which found violations 77
Penalties Issued 269
Money recovered for employees $125,267


ESO’s have discretion to order a number of penalties for non-compliance with the ESA

Non-Monetary Compliance Orders

Where an ESO finds that an employer has contravened the ESA, the Officer can issue a Compliance Order directing an employer or other person to stop contravening a provision and to take certain steps to comply.

227 Compliance Orders were issued during the most recent blitz. 

Orders to Pay Wages

Where monetary violations are found (for instance, failure to pay overtime), and voluntary compliance is not achieved, an ESO will issue an Order to pay wages.

No such Orders were issued during the most recent blitz.

Provincial Offences Act Tickets

ESO’s have the authority to issue tickets under Part I of the Provincial Offences Act, these tickets include a $295 and a victim fine surcharge.

27 such tickets were issued in the most recent blitz.

Notice of Contravention

Where an ESO believes an employer has contravened an ESA provision, they can issue a Notice of Contravention. Penalties for Notices of Contravention start at $250.

15 Notices of Contravention were issued during the repeat offenders blitz.

If you have questions about your rights at work, contact Peter A. McSherry Law Office in Guelph. We can give you the advice you need to get the compensation you deserve and to help you move forward with your life. Contact us at 519-821-5465 to schedule a consultation.