Word 'compliance' on blackboard. Stock photo by Getty Images
A new provision of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act could force employers to incriminate themselves, opening the door to fines and charges.
Now employment standards officers can require employers to conduct self-audits to make sure they are in compliance with all ESA regulations.
This raises the potentially thorny problem of employers policing themselves.
ESA audits and inspections are generally done to ensure an employer is complying with the provincial standards that include:
The first phases of the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, which created incremental changes to the province’s ESA, were rolled out last year.
Self-auditing employers who report ESA violations also need to show steps they’ve taken to resolve the problems.
Naturally, this could also tempt some employers to go easy on themselves, but that’s playing a dangerous game. Conducting a self-audit doesn’t excuse an employer from greater government scrutiny; an employment standards officer could still conduct an investigation even if your self-audit finds everything squeaky-clean. Of course, there are also legislative penalties for any self-auditor found to have falsified their reports.
Hopefully, this will provide better motivation for employers to keep a closer eye on their internal affairs, before having to rattle off their sins for a government inspector. The Ministry of Labour provides detailed information those standards and how to adhere to them.
Take a look before an auditor does it for you.
Employment Standards Manitoba
Ontario Employment Standards Act