Manitoba’s Division of Labour: Inspections and Complaints

  • Labour Standards
Olivia Cicchini

Olivia Cicchini, Employment Law Expert

(Last updated )

Most violations of employment laws occur because employers do not fully know their obligations. Manitoba’s Division of Labour is responsible for ensuring that employers comply with the province’s labour laws and regulations. This division is tasked with conducting inspections and investigating complaints to ensure that employees are being treated fairly and are working in safe and healthy conditions. In this article, we will explore Manitoba’s Division of Labour’s inspections and complaints process.

What is the Employment Standards Code in Manitoba?

The Employment Standards Code (ESC) in Manitoba outlines the minimum employment standards that employers in the province must follow. The ESC includes rules related to provincial minimum wages, hours of work, overtime, vacation, statutory holidays, leaves of absence, termination and severance pay, and more. The purpose of the ESC is to ensure that employees are treated fairly and equitably in the workplace.

What are some critical employment standards all Manitoba employers must follow?

All Manitoba employers must comply with the minimum employment standards set out in the ESC. This includes paying employees at least the minimum wage, providing employees with statutory holidays and vacation time and pay, and paying overtime when required. When terminating employment, employers must provide employees with termination notice or pay in-lieu of notice. Failure to comply with these standards can result in legal action against the employer.

What are some basic employee rights under the Manitoba ESC?

Under the Manitoba ESC, employees have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, to receive overtime pay, to take vacation time, to take leaves of absence for various reasons, and to receive termination notice or pay in lieu of notice when terminated from their job. Employees also have the right to file a complaint with the Division of Labour if they believe that their employer is not complying with the ESC.

How does Manitoba’s Division of Labour ensure compliance with the ESC?

The Employment Standards Office enforces the ESC through a variety of methods, including workplace inspections and investigations into complaints. An Employment Standards Officer (ES Officer) has the power to enter workplaces, review employment records, and interview employees to ensure that employers are complying with the ESC. If a violation is found, the ES Officer may issue an order requiring the employer to comply with the ESC. The Employment Standards Office may also take legal action against employers who repeatedly fail to comply with the ESC.

How do ESC claims work?

Employees who believe that their employer has violated the ESC can file a claim with the Employment Standards Office. The claim must be filed within six months from the last day of employment or six months after the wages were due to be paid. The Employment Standards Officer will investigate the claim and may issue an order requiring the employer to comply with the ESC. If the claim is not resolved, the employee may have the option to take legal action.

What happens during an ESC investigation?

During an ESC investigation, the Employment Standards Officer may review the employer’s records to ensure compliance with the ESC. This may include reviewing records related to hours of work, wages, vacation time, and termination pay. The Officer may also interview employees to ensure that they are receiving their entitlements under the ESC.

How does the Employment Standards office carry out determinations?

If an employer fails to comply with the ESC, the Employment Standards Officer may determine wages are due or order compensation to be paid to the Employment Standards Director for any loss to the employee due to an ESC contravention, or order the employee be reinstated to work. Administrative fees will be accompanied by a determination against the employer.

In what cases can a claim not be filed?

A claim usually will not be investigated if the alleged violation occurred more than six months from the employee’s last day of employment or after the wages were due to be paid. Additionally, if the employee has already filed a claim with the Manitoba Labour Board or a court, they cannot file a claim with the Employment Standards Office.

How does the Workplace Safety and Health Branch ensure compliance with health and safety laws?

An appointed Safety and Health Officer is responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety laws in Manitoba. Inspectors have the power to conduct workplace inspections to ensure that employers are complying with health and safety laws. Inspectors may also investigate complaints related to workplace health and safety.

On what grounds can an officer conduct workplace safety and health inspections?

Officers can conduct workplace safety and health inspections on a variety of grounds, including in response to a complaint or incident, as part of a proactive inspection program, or as part of an investigation into a specific hazard or issue.

What happens during a proactive safety and health inspection?

The Safety and Health Officer can enter without previous notification or warrant any workplace they believe workers or self-employed individuals are or were working. During the inspection, the Officer can conduct tests, make examinations or investigations. They can require the production of information or take photographs, measurements, or take samples or recordings of articles or substances found in the workspace. As part of the Officer’s inspection, they can require any person to provide access to facilities or assistance as well as interview any person they reasonably believe has information on the conditions of the workplace.

What other enforcement powers does a Safety and Health Officer have?

A Safety and Health Officer can issue improvement orders, which will require the employer to remedy a contravention within a certain period. A stop-work order or warning might follow a failure to comply with an improvement order in a certain period, or where the officer believes certain work activities involve an imminent risk or serious physical or health injury.

Can employers appeal an order from a Safety and Health Officer?

Yes, employers have the right to appeal an officer’s order to the Safety and Health Director. The appeal must be filed within 14 days of receiving the order or within any further period that the Director may allow. The appeal must state the reasons for the appeal. The Director will review the order and decide to either confirm, modify, or set aside the order or decision. The Director may also make additional orders. Appeal decisions must have written decisions. The Director may also refer an appeal to the Manitoba Labour Board.

How does workplace insurance work?

The Workers Compensation Board in Manitoba promotes safety and health in workplaces and aims to help prevent and reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries and diseases. Employers in Manitoba are required to have workplace insurance to provide compensation to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. Workplace insurance covers the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other related expenses.

What is the procedure for businesses to report an employee’s injury or illness?

Upon a workplace accident/injury giving rise to a compensation claim, employers must file a report accident. The report must be filed in writing and include personal information from the employee and the nature of the industry, time and place of the injury, cause and nature of the injury, and name and address of the physician who is providing care to the employee.

Is there a reporting deadline for reporting injuries?

Yes, employers are required to report workplace injuries and illnesses to their insurance provider within five days from the day the worker reports the injury/illness or from the day the employer learns from it. Failure to report a workplace injury or illness commits an offence, which can be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000.

What can employees do if an employer refuses to report their accident?

If an employer refuses to report a workplace injury or illness, the employee can file a complaint with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB). The WCB may investigate the complaint and may take legal action against the employer if necessary.

Can employers and employees appeal a decision?

Yes, both employers and employees have the right to appeal decisions related to workplace safety and insurance claims. Appeals can be made to the Safety and Health Director, who may refer the appeal to the Manitoba Labour Board. The Director or Manitoba Labour Board will review the case and may uphold, modify, or cancel the decision.

How to respond to employee complaints to the Division of Labour

If an employee files a complaint with the Employment Standards Office or the Workplace Safety and Health Branch regarding an alleged violation of employment standards or workplace safety, it is important for the employer to take the complaint seriously and respond promptly. Either an Employment Standards Officer or Workplace Safety and Health Officer may investigate the complaint and may take legal action against the employer if the complaint is found to be valid.

To respond to an employee complaint, the employer should first gather all relevant information and documents related to the complaint. This may include employment contracts, pay stubs, schedules, and other records. The employer should also interview any employees who may have knowledge of the complaint.

Once the employer has gathered all necessary information, they should respond to the complaint in writing and provide a detailed explanation of their position. If the complaint is found to be valid, the employer should take immediate corrective action to address the issue and ensure that it does not happen again in the future.

Do you need help staying compliant with provincial employment laws?

The Division of Labour in Manitoba plays a critical role in ensuring that employers follow employment standards and workplace safety laws. Employers must adhere to these regulations to protect the rights and safety of their employees, and the Division of Labour is responsible for enforcing these rules and holding employers accountable for any violations.

Employees also have the right to file complaints with the Division of Labour if they believe their employer is not following these regulations. It is important for employers to respond promptly and take corrective action if necessary to address any complaints and ensure a safe and fair workplace for all employees.

If you need assistance staying compliant with Manitoba’s Employment Standards Code, Peninsula’s services allow you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have. Contact us at 1 (833) 247-3652 to speak with one of our experts today.

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