Numerous employees are forced to work in unlawful conditions to earn a living. According to a Global News segment, the rate of employee exploitation is exceptionally high. The segment explained that an alarming 72 – 80% of the blitzes conducted by the Ministry of Labour since 2012 show some degree of non-compliance with labour laws. The highest rate of exploitation is usually found in realm of precarious jobs.
Who are the victims?
The Liberal government took steps to address exploitation in the realms of internships, co -ops and volunteering positions but there are sectors that still need to be addressed. Part – time, temporary, contract jobs are growing in popularity and avoid the securities of full-time permanent work. Some employees are being asked to regularly work overtime without pay. Although there is a growing number of women working in the workforce, there is also a rise of women working in precarious fields.
Issues with the current system
Currently there are approximately 40 officers overlooking exploitation of employees in Ontario, this number is far from sufficient. Officers usually rely on complaints to take action. The current model requires the employee (lowest person in the hierarchy) to report exploitation to the authorities. However, if the employee does choose to report exploitation, they may lose their job. You can imagine why the employee would hesitate to report their employer, this is assuming that the employee is familiar with the law and is aware that they are being exploited. In some cases, the employee is unaware of their labour rights, this is especially common for immigrants.
Fay Faraday, a labour lawyer went as far to state that approximately 40% of jobs in Ontario are precarious. A United Way, McMaster University report found that more than 50% of workers in the GTA and Hamilton are currently illegal temporary, contract or part-time jobs.
Precarious jobs provide an allusive shield for employers to hide behind as they are not liable for the same standards as full-time permanent employers. Precarious jobs often result in mental stress and a lack of stability which in turn makes it difficult for some to contribute to the economy. In turn, this can result in individuals delaying starting a family or buying a home. Along with economic hardships, many individuals working in precarious jobs are also victims of human right violations. Some of these individuals cannot afford to lose their jobs while others do not have the means for legal representation.
The Ministry of Labour is looking to shed light on the issue and bring about change but it is likely to be slow and a long process.
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Points of Discussion:
1. What are your thoughts on the subject?
2. Is this a common trend in your country?