Issued: January 16, 2014

The Vulnerable Workers workplace inspection blitz that started on May 1, 2013, and ended August 31, 2013, was the second Employment Standards blitz conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development considers vulnerable workers to be those who work in sectors where they may be at greater risk of having their rights violated, and who may lack the ability or resources to understand their rights and to have them respected. Vulnerable workers may include young workers, newcomers to Canada, and those whose first language is neither English nor French.

The purpose of the blitz was to promote compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in industry sectors that often employ vulnerable workers, as well as to educate employers in these sectors and provide them with information materials:

  • Salons, spas and nail salons
  • Manufacturing and distribution
  • Fast-food restaurants
  • Construction
  • Farming
  • Recreation centres, gyms, pools and bowling alleys

During the blitz, officers delivered educational packages to every workplace inspected. The packages included:


306 inspections were completed:

  • 64 employers were compliant and no violations were found.
  • 729 compliance “tools” (e.g., Compliance Order, Notice of Contravention or Part 1 Ticket) were issued.
  • 98% of the monies owing to employees assessed during the blitz were paid voluntarily by the employer.
  • Over $240,000 was recovered for employees.
  • The most common monetary violation was for public holiday pay.
  • The most common non-monetary violations were for:
    • record keeping
    • written agreements with respect to vacation pay, and
    • excess hours worked without an approval from the Director of Employment Standards and/or agreement in writing from the employee

Compliance enforcement summary

An employment standards officer can issue a non-monetary Compliance Order if the officer finds that the employer has contravened the ESA. The officer can order an employer or other person to stop contravening a provision and to take certain steps in order to comply.

  • 683 compliance orders were issued.

An employment standards officer may also issue an Offence Notice (“ticket”) under Part I of the Provincial Offences Act, carrying a fine of $295 plus a victim fine surcharge.

  • 45 Part 1 Tickets were issued.

Employment standards officers have the power to issue Notices of Contravention with prescribed penalties starting at $250 when they believe an employer has contravened a provision of the ESA.

  • 1 Notice of Contravention was issued.

Although an officer can issue an Order to Pay Wages for monetary violations, due to the high level of voluntary compliance none were issued or required during the blitz.


SectorsNumber of workplaces inspectedNumber of compliance tools issuedNumber of employers with no violationsAverage number of compliance tools issued per workplace
Fast food, restaurants109325163.0
Salons, spas and nail salons92195232.1
Manufacturing and distribution53104112.0
Recreation centres, gyms, pools, bowling alleys255552.2