Volunteers and unpaid interns are not covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and therefore are not subject to minimum wage and other requirements of the legislation. However, on September 30, 2014, the Ministry of Labour released the results of its recent blitz where it was determined that a number of unpaid interns in various sectors of the economy were actually employees covered by the ESA, and accordingly, entitled to minimum wages, vacation pay and other protections afforded to employees under the ESA. While the Ministry of Labour did not specifically target charities and non-profits in this blitz, there are many lessons to be learned due to the large number of volunteers and unpaid interns working in these sectors.
The Ministry of Labour in Ontario is putting in place several enforcement measures to ensure compliance with Employment Standards and Occupational Health and Safety, including proactive and increased inspections of workplaces.
To ensure temporary employment agencies/temporary help agencies are in compliance with the Employment Standards Act, the Ontario Ministry of Labour announced on Friday June 8, 2012, a three-month inspection blitz of temp agencies running form June 2012 until the end of August 2012.