Robert Benzie, Toronto Star, 16 July 2014

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn revives Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act that would clamp down on employers and employment agencies who violate workers’ rights.

Lilliane Namukasa knows what it’s like to be a vulnerable worker.

So the 27-year-old, who arrived from Uganda in 2008 to work as a nanny for a Brampton family only to find herself in court suing for lost wages, is thrilled the Ontario government is strengthening labour laws.

“I’m so glad for the changes that have been introduced,” she said Wednesday after Labour Minister Kevin Flynn announced he was reviving legislation that had died after the June 12 election was called.

Namukasa, who says she is still owed $19,000 by her former employer, said the elimination of the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages and further changes should help others in her situation.

“I was forced to go to court to fight for my wages not . . . to the Ministry of Labour. This is a great victory for Ontario workers.”
Flynn said the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act will “protect the most vulnerable workers and level the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”

It will prevent employers from charging employees recruitment fees or seizing documents — such as passports — from temporary foreign workers.

As well, it will boost the number of enforcement officers and inspectors to clamp down on employment agencies that violate workers’ rights.



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