An Ontario employer has been jailed for refusing to pay wages but – at just one day long – his sentence will likely come as a disappointment to the workers he short-changed.
Brian John Villeneuve – who operated an embroidery business that supplied sports paraphernalia – became the subject of a Ministry of Labour investigation after seven employees made claims for unpaid wages and termination pay.
An employment standards officer investigated the claims and found that the workers were owed a total of $31,271.67. Despite being issuing seven orders to pay, Villeneuve refused to submit and was convicted of seven counts of failing to comply with the ministry's orders.
As well as ordering the short but not-so-sweet stay, the Ontario Court of Justice issues a 12-month ban on Villeneuve, preventing him from starting a business that employs workers. The court also ordered Villeneuve to pay the wages owed to the employees.
A person who contravenes Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) or its regulations, or fails to comply with an order under the act, is guilty of an offence.
An individual convicted under the ESA may be fined up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both. A corporation can be fined up to $100,000 for a first conviction, $250,000 for a second conviction, and $500,000 for a third or more convictions
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