WORKERS’ ACTION CENTRE: New protections for Ontario workers announced today

Action Alert: Workers' Action Centre

New protections for Ontario workers announced today

Workers in Ontario have won important new protections against wage theft under new legislation introduced today.

The new bill introduces many changes that Workers’ Action Centre members and supporters across the province have been calling for through the Stop Wage Theft campaign.  If passed the new legislation would:

  1. Give workers 2 years to claim unpaid wages
  2. Get rid of the unfair $10,000 limit on the unpaid wages that can be claimed
  3. Make temp agencies and client companies jointly liable for ESA violations
  4. End WSIB rating system loopholes that provided an incentive for companies to use temp agencies
  5. Ban recruitment fees for all migrant workers

The Ministry of Labour also announced that they will fulfill their 2008 commitment to $10 million for proactive employment standards enforcement.  The government pledged to bring in more penalties for employers who violate the law and indicated the need to continue to make further changes to address precarious employment.

The bill will be tabled at Queen’s Park later this afternoon. We will share more analysis in the coming days.

WAC speaks out

WAC members spoke out today about the new protections:

“Wage theft is increasing across Ontario because many employers know there is virtually no cost to breaking the law. We have been fighting to make sure workers, including temp agency workers, have better protection at work. We now need the government to use stronger and more effective enforcement tools to fully protect workers on the job.” – Tom Wu

“Getting rid of the unfair $10,000 limit for employment standards claims and giving workers 2 years to file claims is a significant victory for Ontario workers, especially migrant workers. If these laws had existed a few years ago, I could have claimed the thousands of dollars of my stolen wages immediately rather than being forced to go to court. – Senthil Thevar

In a front-page Toronto Star article featuring the changes WAC coordinator Deena Ladd stated  “the way things are now, a client company can have someone working for them for five years as a temp worker but never be held responsible for any of their working conditions…under this bill, these companies will now be held jointly liable – which means they would have to think about their business practices.”

We also need to make sure temp workers get equal pay for equal work and to close the gaps so that all workers covered under the law.

Recruitment fee ban just a first step 

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and other migrant worker groups have documented how migrant workers pay an equivalent of two years’ salaries in fees in their home countries to unscrupulous recruiters and agencies to come work in Canada.  

Extending the ban against recruitment fees to all migrant workers is an important first step in taking action to stop recruiter abuses. However, the Ontario government must take steps to license recruiters and make employers jointly liable for violations in order to crack down on exorbitant recruitment fees.  This is just one change among other comprehensive protections for migrant workers that are needed.

Read more about WAC’s Stop Wage Theft campaign here
Read more about the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change #makeitright campaign here and MWAC’s analysis on proposed changes here

www.workersactioncentre.org

Copyright © 2013 Workers’ Action Centre, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Workers’ Action Centre
720 Spadina Avenue
Suite 223
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T9
Canada

CLEO – Latest Common Questions from Your Legal Rights

Latest Common Questions from Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for people in Ontario

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

Latest Common Questions

What if the police stop me on the street and ask me who I am?

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What if the police stop me on the street and ask me who I am?

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Latest Resources

What Happens if My Friend Shoplifts?
This post on the Justice for Children and Youth blog looks at what happens when a young person is caught shoplifting as well as the possible legal consequences for her friend who didn’t report it or try to stop her. The article includes information on Civil Recovery letters as well as what these young people could be charged with under the Criminal Code.

Produced by:
Justice for Children and Youth

Evidence in the Criminal Law
This post on the Justice for Children and Youth blog looks at the law of evidence and the rules that control the proof of facts in legal proceedings. It describes three different forms of evidence including “real evidence,” “documentary evidence,,” and “testimonial evidence” also known as oral evidence.

Produced by:
Justice for Children and Youth

Breaking Down the Myths about Adoption
What are some myths about adoption? This blog takes them on:

Produced by:
Adoption Council of Canada

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NATIONAL HOUSING DAY: TENANT RIGHTS

High-rise appartment buildings at Kipling & Panorama, Rexdale.

This article is adapted from Rexdale Community Legal Clinic’s Tenant Rights presentation prepared by Alrica Gordon. It is intended for informational purposes only and does NOT constitute legal advice. If you have an issue with housing, tenant rights, are facing eviction, or for all other legal matter please call the clinic directly at (416)741-5201. We do NOT give legal advice online.

TENANCY AGREEMENTS

  • A contract between a landlord and tenant in which the tenant agrees to pay rent for the right to live in a rental unit provided by the landlord.
  • The Residential Tenancies Act does not require all landlords and tenants to have a written tenancy agreement or lease.   A tenancy agreement can be an oral or written arrangement.  However, it is generally better to have a written agreement

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE CONTAINED IN THE AGREEMENT

  • The date the tenant will move into the rental unit
  • The rent amount
  • The date rent is to be paid
  • What services are included in the rent (such as electricity or parking) and any separate charges
  • The rules that the landlord requires all tenants to follow

SETTING THE RENT

  • No limit on how much rent landlords can charge new tenants when they first move in.
  • Starting rent will be whatever you and the landlord agree on.
  • There ARE limits on how much and how often your rent can go up

A pen lying on the Signature line for an agreement

RENT INCREASES

There are 3 main rules your landlord must follow to raise your rent:

  • 12 MONTHS APART

After you move in, your landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising your rent

  • 90 DAYS WRITTEN NOTICE

You must receive 90 days written notice  before your rent goes up.

  • GUIDELINE AMOUNT

The provincial government sets the guideline for rent increases for each calendar year.  The landlord has the right to raise your rent by that amount.

2013                2.5%

2014                0.8%

RENT DEPOSITS

  • A landlord can collect a rent deposit if it is requested on or before the day that the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement
  • The rent deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less
  • The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends.  It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages

'Appartment for rent' sign

WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE?

A landlord can ask the person applying for the rental unit to provide information such as:

  • Current residence,
  • Rental history,
  • Employment history,
  • Personal references,
  • Income information (if credit references and rental history information are also requested).

However, the Ontario Human Rights Code has special rules about asking for information about the income of a prospective tenant.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE UNIT?

It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the unit and ensure that it is in a good state of repair, even if:

  • The tenant was aware of problems in the unit before they moved into it, or,
  • The landlord puts into the lease that the tenant is responsible for maintenance
  • However, the tenant is responsible for keeping the unit clean, up to the standard that most people consider ordinary or normal cleanliness
  • The tenant is also responsible for repairing or paying for any damage to the rental property caused by the tenant, their guests or another person living in the rental unit

WHAT SHOULD A TENANT DO IF REPAIRS ARE NEEDED TO THEIR BUILDING OR UNIT?

  • First talk to the landlord and let the landlord know what the problems are
  • Put all the problems in writing and give this to the landlord or the person who takes care of these problems (e.g. the superintendent or property manager)
  • If the landlord refuses to do the repairs or the tenant thinks that the landlord is taking too long to deal with them, the tenant has several options

CAN A LANDLORD ENTER A TENANT’S UNIT?

  • Only under specific circumstances.
  • In most cases, the landlord must first give the tenant 24 hours written notice, stating when they will enter and for what reason.
  • There are some exceptions, however, such as in the case of an emergency or if the tenant agrees to allow the landlord to enter the unit

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF A LANDLORD ENTERS A UNIT ILLEGALLY?

The tenant may file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. If the Board finds that the landlord has entered the unit illegally, there are a number of things that the Board may order:

  • the tenant could receive an abatement of rent
  • the landlord could be ordered to pay a fine

A kitchen water tap drips.

UTILITIES AND VITAL SERVICES

Your landlord CANNOT cut off or interfere with any vital services, e.g. supply of water, electricity or heat. If this happens, call the legal clinic or the province’s Investigation & Enforcement Unit:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Investigation & Enforcement Unit
1-888-772-9277
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu

MOVING OUT

You must give written notice that includes the date you want to move out, and you must give the notice a certain number of days before you want to move out.

Personal belongings packed into a box

EVICTION

  • It is against the law for your landlord to evict you without first getting an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • The Landlord must follow the steps set out in the Residential Tenancies Act

REASONS TO EVICT

  • You owe rent
  • You often pay your rent late
  • You or your guests did something illegal on the property
  • You or your guests caused damage or serious problems for your landlord or other tenants
  • Your landlord wants to tear down the building or use it for something else
  • Your landlord, your landlord’s family, someone buying your place, or the buyer’s family wants to move in.

If you do not want to leave or if you do not agree with the reasons in the Notice, you do not have to move out.  Get legal advice right away!

WHAT IF YOU DON’T MOVE OUT?

If you decide not to move out when the landlord gives you a Notice, the landlord must give you:

  • A Notice of Hearing from the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • An Application explaining what your landlord is asking the Board to do

LANDLORD & TENANT BOARD

  • The tribunal settles disputes between landlord and tenants
  • The tribunal enforces the right of the landlord or tenant
  • It is like a court, but less formal

LANDLORD & TENANT BOARD HEARINGS

 It is important that you go to the hearing. If you do not go, the Board can hold the hearing without you.  If that happens, the Board member will probably decide to evict you because they will not hear your side of the story.

 Bring evidence to your hearing:

  • Witnesses
  • Photos
  • Inspector’s reports
  • Work Orders
  • Audio or Video recordings

WHERE TO GET HELP

  • Your Community Legal Clinic
  • Legal Aid Ontario Tenant Duty Counsel
  • M.A.H. Investigation and Enforcement Unit
  • Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Tenants’ organizations
  • Your neighbours

If you are having issues with housing, tenant rights, or are facing eviction, please call us at (416) 741-5201.

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
416-741-5201
www.rexdalecommunitylegalclinic.ca

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC

Legal Aid Ontario
1-800-668-8258
TTY: 1-866-641-8867
http://www.legalaid.on.ca

Landlord and Tenant Board
416-645-8080
http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Investigation & Enforcement Unit
1-888-772-9277
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu

Federation of Metro Tenants Association
416-413-9442
http://www.torontotenants.org/

Community Legal Education Ontario
http://www.cleo.on.ca/

Your Legal Rights
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/

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Legal Aid Ontario Blog – What can Canadian lawyers contribute to a legal conference in Kenya?

kenya

What can Canadian lawyers contribute to a legal conference in Kenya?

October 30, 2013

By Ann McRae

This question initially crossed my mind when I was invited to speak about the use of paralegals in delivery of legal services. Conference organizers felt that as an Ontario legal aid lawyer, I had much knowledge and experience to share with conference participants. Through research and preparation, I came to learn how much Ontario’s legal aid structure and administration of justice has useful lessons for other jurisdictions.

In partnership with law societies from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is providing support and resources to a conference titled “Supporting Access to Justice for Children and Youth in East Africa”. The topics at the three-day event have been chosen to meet the needs and interests of the law societies, judges, court administrators, policy makers and non-government agencies, all of whom are working to improve the awareness and protections of children’s rights in the participating East African countries. A small group of Canadians are sprinkled into the panels and presentations to provide a unique and more established perspective.

The CBA has sponsored three Toronto clinic lawyers to cover three topics at the event taking place in Naivasha, Kenya, from October 29 to October 31. Mary Marrone, Director of Legal Services at the Income Security Advocacy Centre will speak on “The how and why of community engagement in needs assessments – strategies.” Emily Chan, Community Development Lawyer at Justice for Children and Youth will give a presentation on “Public Legal Education for Children and Youth”. As Director of Legal Services at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, my talk will be on “Strengthening Access to Justice through Non-Lawyers in the Canadian Legal Aid System”. I plan to focus on the use of paralegals in legal service delivery, including staff offices and community legal workers at clinics.

Ontario enjoys a better-funded judicial system and a better-funded scheme of legal assistance than many around the world. In other jurisdictions, particularly those in developing countries, duty counsel and community legal assistance is provided mostly by pro bono lawyers or non-government agencies. The quality and accessibility of these services varies widely. The structure and range of services offered by Legal Aid Ontario is of great interest to our counterparts in East Africa, and we are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with them.

At the end of three days with the African delegates, we will learn what parts of the Ontario experience are most valuable in an East African context, and undoubtedly bring home valuable lesson to share.

Ann McRae is the Director of Legal Services at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. 

Legal Aid Ontario Blog

Your Legal Rights: Latest Common Questions & Resources

Latest Common Questions from Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for people in Ontario

Latest Common Questions

How can I avoid being taken advantage of by credit repair or debt settlement agencies?

Question:
How can I avoid being taken advantage of by credit repair or debt settlement agencies?

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Latest Resources

Credit repair
This publication explains the legal rules for businesses that promise to “fix” or repair their credit reports. It also explains why these services may often not be worth paying for, and suggests other ways for people to deal with credit and debt problems.

Produced by:
CLEO – Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario

How Do I Know If My Identity Has Been Stolen?
This Ministry of Consumer Services web page lists some of the signs your identity might have been stolen: Bills or statements don’t arrive when they’re supposed to? Getting credit card statements for accounts you don’t have?

Produced by:
Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services

Your credit report
This publication explains what a credit report (or “consumer report”) is, and the legal rules for what information can and cannot be included in a credit report, who can access it, and how it can be used. It outlines how to get corrections made to a credit report, and what to do if you have problems with a credit bureau (“consumer reporting agency”).

Produced by:
CLEO – Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario

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Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.

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Copyright © 2013 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario), All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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Your Legal Rights: Legal Bulletin on Human Rights

Brought to you by Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for people in Ontario
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

Human Rights

The following email bulletin provides you with the latest news, legal information resources, common questions and training webinars from Your Legal Rights on the topic: Human Rights.

Latest News and Events

October 17 Public forum: What’s racism got to do with it?
Toronto is a city divided. 25% of its neighbourhoods are dramatically increasing in socio-­economic status. In the 40% of neighbourhoods with a population of one million that that are dramatically decreasing, members of racialized communities are overrepresented. The labour market and government policies play a major role.

Article Source:

Neighbourhood Change Research Project

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on Human Rights for 10/10/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

Solidarity: Canadian civil society unites on Russian LGBT rights

Commentary from the Toronto Star: Cognizant of the hate and discrimination that so often smothers the basic rights of marginalized groups, a small group of HIV and LGBT activists have mobilized more than 100 Canadian civil society organizations to join the mounting global movement in response to the tyranny of Russian President Vla

Article Source:

Toronto Star

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View all news on this topic

Latest Resources

Working Together: The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
This e-learning video is for public, private, and not-for-profit sectors and completes the training requirements for section 7 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It has five parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Code
  3. Understanding the duty to accommodate
  4. Applying human rights principles
  5. Compliance and enforcement
Produced by:
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)

Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on Human Rights for 10/10/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

Administrative Justice Support Network
A project of Community Living Ontario, the Administrative Justice Support Network supports people who are making an appeal before an administrative board or tribunal whether or not they have legal representation. Their website has information on selected board and tribunals, links to additional information, and information on where to find more specific legal advice or legal representation.

Produced by:
Community Living Ontario

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on Human Rights for 10/10/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

View all resources on this topic

Latest Training

Discrimination is Against the Law! A Primer on Human Rights Law in Ontario
Recorded on December 19, 2012 – This webinar, presented in partnership by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre and Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, provides an overview of the Human Rights Code, highlighting the grounds and social areas which the Code applies to, exceptions to the Code, and remedies available under the Code.

Presenting Organization:
Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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Latest Common Question

My landlord wants me to get a co-signor or guarantor before I can sign my lease. What should I do? View all questions on this topic

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About Your Legal Rights

Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Comments?

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Copyright © 2013 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario), All rights reserved.

Toronto Employment & Social Services: Newcomer Employment and Services Forum

Toronto Employment & Social Services - Newcomer Employment and Services Forum