The Ontario government has released a new Employment Standards in Ontario Poster to be posted in all workplaces under the ESA.
As a result of the much blogged about changes made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), which came into force in the new year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour drafted a new poster entitled Employment Standards in Ontario (the “Poster”) reflecting these changes.
What this means for employers
All employers must replace their old Poster with the new one published in January 2018.
As a reminder, the Poster should be posted in the workplace where it is likely that employees will see it (i.e. in the break room, by the water-cooler, etc.).
The poster must be displayed in English. However, if the majority language of the workplace is a language other than English, and the Ministry of Labour has published a version of the Poster in that language, then the employer is required to post a copy of the translation next to the English version of the Poster.
In addition, employers are also required to give every employee a copy of the new Poster. In this regard, employers should email a copy or a link of the new Poster to each employee as soon as practicable, and they should ensure each employee has reasonable access to a printer (black and white is fine) and that each employee knows how to use the printer to print the Poster if they so wish.
Practically, as well, going forward, all employers should provide the Poster to all new employees as part of their new hire documents (i.e. along with their signed contracts, the company’s policies, etc.).
What happens if employers fail to post the Poster?
An employer who fails to post the Poster is guilty of an offence under the ESA, and may be liable for an order to post the Poster or even a fine.
Employers should be very cautious of getting charged for any offense under the ESA, even as slight as a charge of failing to post the Poster. That is because section 132 of the ESA enshrines a sentencing formula which effectively doubles the maximum fine a corporation is liable for for each time it had already been convicted of an offense under the ESA, up to $500,000. Therefore, a conviction for a failure to post the Poster may be cheap now, but it could be very expensive down the road.
In addition, failing to post the Poster can hurt an employer’s credibility in case it ever defends itself in an ESA appeal at the Ontario Labour Relations Board for some more serious and costly offense (i.e. unpaid overtime). It’s not a good look for the employer if the employee can show that the employer was so bad it even failed to simply post the Poster.
Where can employers get the Poster?
The poster is available to download online for free on the Ministry of Labour website: