Ontario has passed legislation that is intended to lead to faster resolution of employment standards claims. Amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 contained in the Open for Business Act, 2010 will allow for changes to the employment standards claim process, which will be implemented Jan. 19, 2011.
“This legislation is good for employers and employees,” said Minister of Labour Peter Fonseca. “It will help get money owed into the pockets of hard-working Ontarians faster. And it will help employers to get claims off their books sooner.”
The legislation will require employees, where appropriate, to notify their employer before an employment standards claim will be investigated. However, vulnerable employees will not be required to notify their employer.
“I am very proud to forward legislation that enhances fairness in the workplace. A harmonious workplace is a productive workplace that benefits all Ontarians,” said Fonseca.
Employees will be able to contact their employer through regular mail, email, fax or phone but face-to-face contact is not required. By settling disputes earlier, employers and employees will avoid unnecessary costs and shorten claimant wait times, said the ministry.
The amendments also allow the ministry’s employment standards officers to help employers and employees to reach a settlement, if they agree to participate. Employment standards officers will also be able to deal with undue delays by making a decision on the best information available — unlike previously when claims were sometimes delayed if one party did not provide all the required information.
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