How would you feel if your wallet was stolen and the police told you to ask the thief for it back before they would help you? This is the question asked by members of WAC who launched a campaign in 2010 to stop Bill 68 from passing. The bill proposed changing the regulations of the Employment Standards Act to require workers to first confront their employer for unpaid wages before filing a claim at the Ministry of Labour. It would also allow employment standards officers to facilitate settlements between workers and their boss, effectively allowing employers to negotiate to pay less than what they owe. WAC members put forward arguments against Bill 68 based on their own experience with wage theft and their fight to get paid. This video was used as a campaign tool to organize support against this bill across Ontario.
UPDATE! Bill 68 passed, but the campaign was effective at bringing in a new section of the Employment Standards claim form which allows workers to check off reasons why they CANNOT confront their employer and file their claim without this added barrier. Unfortunately, over 80% of claims are still “settled” at the Ministry of Labour.