Closing the Enforcement Gap: Improving Employment Standards Protections for People in Precarious Jobs
The nature of employment is changing: low wage jobs are increasingly common, fewer workers belong to unions, and workplaces are being transformed through the growth of contracting-out, franchising, and extended supply chains. Closing the Enforcement Gap offers a comprehensive analysis of the enforcement of employment standards in Ontario.
Adopting mixed methods, this work includes qualitative research involving in-depth interviews with workers, community advocates, and enforcement officials; extensive archival research excavating decades of ministerial records; and analysis of a previously untapped source of administrative data collected by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour. The authors reveal and trace the roots of a deepening "enforcement gap" that pervades nearly all aspects of the regime, demonstrating that the province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) fails too many workers who rely on the floor of minimum conditions it was devised to provide. Arguably, there is nothing inevitable about the enforcement gap in Ontario or for that matter elsewhere. Through contributions from leading employment standards enforcement scholars in the US, the UK, and Australia, as well as Quebec, Closing the Enforcement Gap surveys innovative enforcement models that are emerging in a variety of jurisdictions and sets out a bold vision for strengthening employment standards enforcement.
Closing the Enforcement Gap Research Group
Leah F. Vosko
Andrea M. Noack
Mark P. Thomas
Eric M. Tucker
- Series: Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
- World Rights
- Page Count: 472 pages
- Illustrations: 21
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.0in
"This is an exemplar case study in mixed methods research. It shows the value of a thorough integration of rigorous quantitative analysis with rich interview data, complemented by archival, policy, and regulatory analysis. An important scaffolding of this book, often missing in studies of enforcement, is the attention paid to structural barriers to adequate enforcement - in particular, feminization, racialization, and migration and citizenship status. The analysis draws attention to the ways in which these barriers intersect -- exemplifying the benefits of using critical and feminist political economy conceptual framings."
Sara Charlesworth, School of Management, RMIT University
"For those who want to understand what happens in the implementation phase, after labor laws are passed, and the limitations of our current systems of labor standards enforcement, this is an incredibly important book by one of the foremost experts in our field and her talented team. It is exhaustively researched and nuanced but never loses the forest for the trees. Important questions about agency practices are wrestled to the ground and theory is elegantly integrated throughout."
Janice Fine, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
"The great merit of this book is that it charted it detail enforcement gaps of considerable depths in Ontario. The fragmentation of companies with extended supply chains and an increasing share of precarious workers have created create an environment where violations of basic workplace laws are everyday occurrences. The authors conclude that enforcement strategies are obviously not keeping up with these workplace changes. Fortunately the reader is not left with this bleak picture. Innovative enforcement strategies in other countries, which are analyzed in detail, give hope that there is nothing inevitable about leaving so many employees so poorly protected."
"A must to read for everyone who wants to understand why violations of basic workplace laws are everyday occurrences and want to understand how vulnerable employees can be better protected"
Gerhard Bosch, Institut Arbeit und Qualifikation, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Fakultät für Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Author InformationLeah F. Vosko is a professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender & Work at York University.
Table of contents
List of Graphs, Tables, and Figures
1. Mapping the Enforcement Gap: Historical and Contemporary Dynamics
Part One: Charting the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap in Ontario
2. Responsibilization, Reprisal, and (Non)Remediation: Interrogating the Role of an Individualized Complaints System
3. Administering Complaints: Dilemmas of Accountability
4. Recovering Employees' Wages?
5. The Contradictory Role of Workplace Inspections
6. The Deterrence Gap: Towards an Explanation
7. Strengthening Participatory Approaches to Enforcement
Part Two: Views from Elsewhere: Contextualizing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap in Ontario
8. Enforcement of Wage Recovery in Britain
9. Out of the Shadows and into the Spotlight: The Sweeping Evolution of Employment Standards Enforcement in Australia
10. Enforcing Employment Standards in Quebec: One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward?
11. Strategic Enforcement to Confront Wage Theft in the US: An Insider Account
12. Improving Protections for People in Precarious Jobs
Supplementary Information on Quantitative and Qualitative Methods: Ontario Component
Appendix A: Quantitative Data
A.1. Administrative Data
A.2. National Surveys
Appendix B: Qualitative Data
B.1. Worker Interviews
B.2. MOL Interviews
B.3. Community Representative Interviews
Appendix C: Archival Research
Subjects and Courses