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Here’s What Happens During Ministry of Labour Workplace Inspection Blitzes

On a scale from 1 to 10, how prepared is your business for a workplace inspection?

If an Employment Standards Officer (ESO) showed up at your business today, would you pass a workplace inspection audit? Considering that this could happen to you, would you be able to place your business closer to a 10 in preparedness? The Ministry of Labour is proactive about workplace inspections. It’s important that you – as an employer – are too.

Here’s What Happens During Workplace Inspection Blitzes

To enforce the Employment Standards Act, 2000, (ESA), the Ministry of Labour is both reactive and proactive in their tactics. Reactively, an ESO will respond to an employee complaint by inspecting a workplace accordingly. Proactively, the Ministry schedules workplace inspection blitzes, having businesses audited without notice. Here’s what the process looks like:

Planning for the Blitz

Inspection blitzes take place in rounds, this year being from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Prior to, the Ministry releases a schedule of their targets – who, when, and for what. For 2018-19, the focus of Employment Standards enforcement is as follows:

Sector Region (Ontario) When
Golf Courses Western June 1 – September 30, 2018
Small Retailers and Grocers Eastern June 1 – September 28, 2018
Smaller / Independent Retailers Central East September 1 – December 31, 2018
Retail Trade (Non-Restaurant or Grocery Stores) Central West October 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019
During a Workplace Inspection 

Whether your business is being targeted or your employee has filed a complaint, the inspection process involves a review of the below five areas:

  1. Employer Interview: the ESO will interview you to determine if your workplace practices are in accordance to the ESA
  2. ESA Poster Check: the ESO will confirm that the mandatory ESA Poster is in a place where all your employees can see it
  3. Employee Interview: the ESO will select an employee at random for an interview to ensure that your workplace practices are in fact, compliant
  4. Documents Review: the ESO will go over all required documents that prove your workplace is compliant with Ontario’s employment standards
  5. Test Audit: the ESO will use your documents to perform a test audit to ensure that the minimum standards are being met
After a Workplace Inspection

If your business passes the inspection, the ESO will issue a report and close your file. However, if you do not pass, there are several steps the the ESO will take, such as:

  • A full audit or self-audit
  • Enforcement actions (i.e. issuing a ticket or notice of contravention)
  • Request for voluntary compliance (i.e. order to pay wages)

When the workplace inspection is complete, the ESO will provide you with an inspection report, which is required to be posted. From here, you will need to complete a notification of compliance form and return it to the officer to close your file. Where a workplace has been identified as non-compliant with Ontario’s labour laws, as the employer, you are more likely to be re-inspected at a later date.

Now is the time to make sure your business is prepared for a workplace inspection.

Don’t wait for an Employment Standards Officer to proactively inspect your workplace. Now is the time for employers to review and make any necessary changes to workplace policies, procedures, and handbooks. Protect your business by ensuring that your workplace is compliant with Ontario’s Employment Standards. If you considered your business to be less than 7 on the preparedness scale, it always a good idea to consult with an human resources professional. Look out for your business, before the Ministry of Labour looks at your business.