Stop Wage Theft, Lewenza Urges Labour Minister

June 7, 2011, 4:40 PM EST


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New evidence of widespread abuse of employment standards and wage theft in Ontario workplaces is cited in a newly released report by the Toronto-based Workers' Action Centre (WAC) and "paints a disturbing picture of the realities many hard-working, yet vulnerable Ontarians face," said CAW President Ken Lewenza in a June 3 letter sent to Ontario Minister of Labour Charles Sousa.

Lewenza said the WAC report entitled Unpaid Wages, Unprotected Workers "is a damning portrait of Ontario's workplaces and one that should prompt swift action by the provincial government and your ministry."  The report highlights that one-in-five Ontarians surveyed are paid illegal wages by their employer (e.g. less than the legislated minimum wage). Many others have suffered from some form of wage theft (e.g. not paid for overtime work; failed to receive termination pay).

"The constant effort by employers to exploit legislative loopholes and promote new forms of unconventional work arrangements (such as temporary agency work, term, contract and involuntary part-time work, as well as jobs intentionally misclassified, among others) has created a growing second-tier workforce - one marked by very low wages, constant insecurity, few rights and a lower standard of living," said Lewenza. He pointed to the steady rise in "precarious" work as a major cause of declining work standards.

Lewenza urged the minister to work towards full adoption of the list of recommendations outlined in the report, including better enforcement of employment standards, updated labour laws, increasing the minimum wage to keep workers out of poverty and equal status and protection for all workers.

To read the entire letter from Ken Lewenza to Minister Sousa click here

To download a copy of Unpaid Wages, Unprotected Workers, visit: www.workersactioncentre.org

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