Proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) on payment of wages and employment standards officer's self-audit powers

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Employment Standards Act
Summary of Proposal:
MLTSD is proposing the following as part of the Spring 2021 Red Tape Reduction Bill:

1. Modernizing the Payment of Wages Provisions under the ESA

The ministry is proposing to amend the ESA by removing the condition for an employer to obtain employee consent to pay wages by direct deposit where an office or facility of the employee's financial institution is not within a reasonable distance of the location where the employee usually works. This condition reflects a time when online banking was less common and is no longer relevant. Technological advancements (i.e. online banking, debit cards, credit cards, etc.), have made the need for physical banking increasingly less important. This condition is also difficult for employers and employees to apply with certainty. Eliminating this condition related to direct deposit removes an unnecessary requirement.

2. Expanding Employment Standards Officer's Powers with Respect to Self-Audits

Currently, an employment standards officer (ESO) can require employers to conduct self-audits to determine whether they are complying with the Employment Standards Act instead of an audit being performed by the ESO. The ministry is proposing to expand the powers of an ESO to require self-audits within the current inspection framework by enabling an ESO to require a self-audit on the extent of the non-compliance/quantum owed where the officer has determined non-compliance already. The ministry is proposing these changes to increase consistency with the current inspections system. It is also aligned with modern regulatory principles and may educate employers so they better understand their responsibilities.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
1. Modernizing the Payment of Wages Provisions under the ESA

This proposal is cost neutral to employers. There are no anticipated costs associated with the change. No employer action would be required with this proposed change. Any potential savings are not quantifiable and would be minor. This proposal would modernize the provisions related to direct deposit by eliminating an unnecessary requirement and making it easier for employers to make direct deposits.

2. Expanding Employment Standards Officer's Powers with Respect to Self-Audits

This proposal is aligned with the government's commitment to modern regulatory principles by giving officers more power to apply a proportionate approach towards promoting compliance. This proposal will result in increased consistency with the inspections system.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
21-MLTSD 007
Posting Date:
April 15, 2021
Comments Due Date:
May 25, 2021
Contact Address:
Employment, Labour, and Corporate Policy Branch
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
400 University Avenue, 15th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7