The importance of maintaining compliance with Canadian payroll legislation
is not something that should be taken lightly. In an effort to underscore this, the government of Alberta recently launched a webpage
containing a public list of employers in the province that currently have judgments for unpaid employee earnings registered against them in court.Naming and shaming Alberta employers
The list, which can be found on the Employment and Immigration section of the Alberta government's Human Services website, is comprised of nearly 2,000 different employers that generated more than 3,600 unsatisfied claims - some of which date back nearly a decade. For instance, Edmonton-based Zettco Structures owes $761.61, according to a judgment made in April 2003, while a decision filed earlier this month requires the Konstruktor Corporation of Edmonton to pay $5,777.39. In order to get their names removed from the list, employers must simply pay the earnings as directed by the court, the Canadian Payroll Reporter
explains. Altogether, the unpaid earnings add up to more than $14 million.The adverse effects of payroll noncompliance
As the Toronto Sun
reports, most employment standards claims arise as a result of investigations by employment standards officers. Employers who are found owing are ordered to pay their workers. Although more than three-quarters (80 percent) of these claims are eventually collected by the government, some go on to become unsatisfied provincial court judgments.
"We need both employers and employees to be aware of their responsibilities and rights in the workplace which in turn contributes to respectful work environments," said Dave Hancock, Alberta's minister of human services, in a recent statement.
Hancock also pointed to the province's recent efforts to educate local companies about employment standards in a bid to promote compliance and ultimately reduce the number of new claims.
"We have now put some very accessible tools in place to educate the community about the Employment Standards Code which should contribute to reducing complaints, while creating awareness about those employers with outstanding claims," he noted.
Although some companies deliberately refrain from paying their workers the wages to which they are entitled, others can get into hot water because of good-faith mistakes or unfamiliarity with Canadian payroll tax updates.