The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act makes several important changes to the laws governing working conditions for people in Ontario, including better provisions to curb wage theft, increased protections for temp agency workers, and pegging the minimum wage to annual increases in the cost of living. All changes will be phased in gradually over 2015. Download our detailed overview, [download id=”6389″], which includes details of all the changes and the timelines for when each portion of the Act comes into effect.
Coming into effect February 20, 2015:
Removal of the $10,000 limit
Starting on February 20, 2015, there will no longer be a maximum amount or cap on unpaid wages that the Ministry of Labour can order an employer to pay an employee. This is only for unpaid wages that become due to be paid to a worker on or after February 20, 2015.
Time limits on Wage Recovery Period Now 2 years
Under the new rules for filing claims for unpaid wages, workers will be able to claim wages that are due in the two years prior to the date that the claim was filed. This is a big increase from the six month limit on wages recoverable from the date the claim was filed under the old rules (or 12 months in the case of vacation pay or repeat violations). In addition, there is now a removal of the $10,000 claim limit. The period of time that a worker can claim wages for from the date the claim is filed will increase starting February 20, 2015 until the two year time limit is reached February 20, 2017.
Longer Time Limit for Filing a Claim
Under the new rules for filing claims for unpaid wages, workers will have up to two years to file a claim from the date that the wages become due. This two year time limit comes into effect on February 20, 2015. Workers who have unpaid wages that came due on or after February 20, 2015 will have two years to file a claim at the Ministry of Labour to recover those wages. For workers who have wages that came due before February 20, 2015, they have 6 months to file claim for unpaid wages. For workers who have unpaid vacation pay that became due before February 20, 2015, they have one year to file a claim (rather than 6 months).
Get Support & More Information
As these changes are phased in, there may be some confusion in cases where wages are owed before and after February 20th, 2015. Call the Workers’ Action Centre for details on specific situations. You can also call the Ministry of Labour toll free at 1-800-531-5551.
WAC has also updated all of our factsheets and booklets to incorporate the new changes. Check out our Know Your Rights page to get the latest versions.