The Ontario government is introducing the Working for Workers Act, 2023, which will strengthen protections for vulnerable and migrant workers. If passed, the legislation would establish the highest maximum fines in Canada for businesses and people who are convicted of withholding a foreign national’s passport or work permit. Offenders could face a $100,000 to $200,000 penalty for every worker whose rights are violated.
“Anyone who preys on vulnerable members in our community has no place in our society,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “If you think you’re going to deny someone’s basic human rights by withholding their passport, we’re going to hit your pocketbook, and you will be behind bars for a long time. We will continue to use every tool in our toolbox to ensure Ontario is a province where hard work pays off and big dreams come true.”
Ministry officers have the power to levy penalties for each passport or work permit a business or person withholds. In addition to the per-passport penalties, individuals convicted of withholding passports would be liable to either a fine of up to $500,000, up to 12 months imprisonment, or both. Corporations convicted would be liable to a fine of up to $1 million.
The government is also proposing amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), if passed, would increase the maximum fine for corporations convicted of an offence under the OHSA from $1.5 million to $2 million. This would give Ontario the highest maximum corporate fine under workplace health and safety legislation in Canada. Last spring of 2022, the government raised fines for individuals to a maximum of $500,000 and up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for corporate directors.Source : The Grower