PROVINCE STEPS UP WAGE ENFORCEMENT
Tim Hortons scandal spurs crackdown
The Ontario government is stepping up enforcement to ensure employers are paying workers the new $14-an-hour minimum wage.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said Monday that up to 175 new employment standards officers are being hired to inspect workplaces that may not be abiding with the hourly increase from $11.60 that took effect Jan. 1.
“You can’t break the law in the province of Ontario — you have to pay the minimum wage,” Flynn told reporters at Queen’s Park. “Unfortunately, it appears some employers are abandoning the spirit of this legislation and some may even be doing more than that,” the minister said.
“The stories we’ve all heard over the past week have not only been disappointing, but quite frankly they’ve made the premier, myself, and others in this province angry,” he said.
That was a reference to the children of Tim Hortons’ cofounders reducing benefits to employees in response to the wage hike at their two franchises in Cobourg, and a Scarborough outlet banning employees from accepting tips and stripping them of paid breaks.
Tim Hortons’ corporate parent has dubbed them a “rogue group,” the actions of which “do not reflect the values of our brand.”
Echoing Premier Kathleen Wynne, Flynn warned such “bullying behaviour will not be tolerated.”
“For the first time, the minister of labour can, by law, publish the names of employers who break the rules. This is something we are very willing to do,” he said.
“We’re also stepping up enforcement to make sure that all of the new rules are followed.”
The hope is that all complaints by workers can be resolved within 90 days. Flynn noted that calls to the ministry’s tip line, 416-3267160 in Toronto and 1-800-5315551, are up 30 per cent. “We’ve got your backs,” Flynn said.