Monday, June 24, 2013

Employment Standards Act Violations

(A version of this posting appeared recently on

The Workers Action Centre reported earlier this month on a new study released by the Chinese Canadian National Council-Toronto Chapter.

The study called “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” documents widespread employment standards violations facing Chinese workers.

For example of the workers surveyed:

**Twenty percent were paid less than minimum wage.
**Only half received public holiday pay.
**Seventy-seven percent said they never receive overtime.

An earlier report by the Workers Action Centre documented similar abuses. The fact that 1 in 3 low-wage workers had experienced unpaid wages in the previous 5 years was indeed shocking. 

The Worker’s Action Centre wants to immediately increase fines and penalties for employers who break the law and make it mandatory for all employers with a confirmed violation to face a fine. 

This just makes sense.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Need to Extend Rent Controls

(An earlier version of this story appeared at

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants (ACTO) put out a news release earlier this month. The news release should offer encouragement to tenants and tenant advocates.

The release talked about a bill tabled in the Ontario legislature. If passed, Bill 82 would extend rent controls to more than 50,000 households not currently covered. (

Cindy Forster (MPP Welland), a former mayor, tabled the legislation.

Many advocates and tenants are aware that the current Residential Tenancies Act (2006) exempts residential properties built after November 1, 1991 from the rules governing rent increases.

In ACTO’s news release Mary Todorow, policy analyst for ACTO, noted that opposition to getting rid of the exemption has always focussed on the idea that such a change would prevent new rental units from being developed.

And so the loophole has remained in place for years. However, the exemption from regulation has not sparked the construction of badly needed rental housing,” says Todorow.”

Private member bills like this one don’t pass very often. However, if tenants contact their elected representatives perhaps something will change.

Meanwhile the City of Toronto Council’s Executive Committee has agreed to look at the issue. In addition, NDP MPP Johan Schein wants to rid the province of this two-tier system of tenant protection. He has started an on-line petition (

See this Toronto Star story for more details