Section 25 – Time limits on recovery
Complaint by foreign national - s. 25(1)
Subsection 25(1) provides that where a foreign national files a complaint, an employment standards officer is prohibited from issuing an order to repay fees or an order to repay costs if the contravention occurred more than three and a half years before the complaint was filed.
It is important to distinguish the limitation periods established under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 from those under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. For example, where a complaint relates to unpaid wages under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, s. 111 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 provides that an order cannot be issued for wages that came due to the complainant more than six months/one year or up to two years prior to the filing of the complaint. The different recovery periods under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 apply depending upon whether the unpaid wages came due prior to or on or after the date amendments made to s. 111 by the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, S.O. 2014, c. 10 came into force (February 20, 2015).
Complaint by another person - s. 25(2)
This provision establishes a limitation period in respect of the recovery of illegally charged fees and illegally recovered costs through an order to pay where an employment standards officer who is investigating a complaint finds a contravention of the legislation in respect of a non-complainant while conducting the investigation.
It provides that where an officer is investigating a complaint filed by foreign national A, and during the course of that investigation finds a violation in respect of foreign nationals B and C, the officer may issue an order to repay fees or an order to repay costs in relation to foreign nationals B and C only if the contravention occurred in the three and half year period preceding the date foreign national A filed his or her complaint.
This provision is similar to s. 111(2) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 as amended by the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 although the limitation period in s. 111(2) is two years (with respect to wages that came due on or after February 20, 2015.). The Program's interpretation of s. 112(2) can be applied to this provision with the necessary modifications. See ESA Part XXII.
Inspection, no complaint - s. 24(3)
Subsection 25(3) provides that where during the course of an inspection (as opposed to the investigation of a complaint), an employment standards officer finds a contravention, he or she may issue an order to repay fees or an order to repay costs only for those contraventions that occurred in the three and a half year period preceding the date the inspection began.
Different time limits - s. 25(4)
This provision allows for the making of a regulation that would extend or shorten the limitation periods that apply to the recovery of illegally charged fees or illegally recovered costs through an order to pay as set out in ss. (1) to (3). It also provides that different time limits could be prescribed for different classes of complaints or contraventions.
At the time of writing, no such regulation has been made.