TORONTO – A new study shows that 20 per cent of recent immigrants to Ontario surveyed claim they are being paid less than the provincial minimum wage.
The survey, conducted by the Chinese Canadian Council, was included in a report entitled “Two Steps Back.”
But, it seems, recent immigrants are also missing out on several other benefits.
“Besides the minimum wage we have overtime, vacation pay, holiday pay,” Beixi Liu of the Workers’ Action Centre said “Only 56 per cent of workers get proper holiday pay.”
The survey found that 77 per cent of respondents were not given any extra pay after working more than 44 hours in a week.
The organization surveyed 300 people within Toronto’s Chinese community.
The majority of those surveyed work for small businesses or companies in the manufacturing industry in the GTA.
Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Yasir Naqvi, said in an interview with Global News that any incident of employees not meeting the Employment Standards Act is “unacceptable.”
One of the key problems, the survey found, was that many of the workers didn’t know they were entitled to extra pay.
And Naqvi says that in the recently passed 2013 Ontario Budget, the government added $3 million for the education and enforcement of the Employment Standards Act.
“We work very hard to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and that they’re protected under the Employment Standards Act,” Naqvi said.
While organizations like Liu’s Workers’ Action Centre try to educate employees about their right, they face limitations.
“Ours is a very small organization – there’s only so much we can do,” Liu said. “You can’t help all the problems.”