Recovering unpaid wages

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Recovering unpaid wages – New as of April 1, 2019, know the fact

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Federal labour standards establish employment conditions—hours of work, payment of wages, overtime rules, vacation and general holidays, leaves and rights on termination of employment—in federally regulated workplaces.

On April 1, 2019, changes to Part III of the Canada Labour Code improve how complaints about unpaid wages are addressed to help employees recover what they are owed.

When a federally regulated employer does not follow the standards set out in Part III of the Canada Labour Code or voluntarily comply, the Labour Program offers a number of options to recover wages.

Improving how amounts owed are determined - New

When employment or payroll records are not provided, the Labour Program can determine the amount of wages owed.

Benefit: speeds up the time to resolve the issue

Extending the wage recovery period - New

The Labour Program can recover up to 24 months of unpaid wages (up from 12 months).

Benefit: increases wages (or amounts) employees recover

When an employer does not voluntarily comply, the Labour Program may issue a payment order to collect unpaid wages.

Including an administrative fee - New

The Labour Program will add an administrative fee (15% of the total amount or $200, whichever is greater) to the amount owed in a payment order.

Benefit: improves employer’s voluntary compliance and speeds up the time to resolve the issue

Adding payment options for employers and/or directors who seek a review - New

When a request for review is made on a payment order, the Labour Program will accept a letter of credit in lieu of a monetary payment.

Benefit: increases flexibility for employers who seek a review

Strengthening directors’ liability provisions - New

When an employer or director does not pay a payment order, the Labour Program can collect from a director’s debtors or financial institution.

Benefit: increases wages (or amounts) employees recover

Learn more about your rights and obligations

Canada.ca/federal-labour-standards or contact the Labour Program 1-800-641-4049
Teletypewriter (TTY) 1-800-926-9105
#LabourStandards @Labour_ESDC

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