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Jail time justified in certain employment cases

Employment lawyer Kumail Karimjee

In certain cases, jail time over Employment Standards Act violations is justified, Toronto employment lawyer Kumail Karimjee says in Law Times.  Read Law Times

“It is harsh, but I see it as the court saying that workers’ rights really do matter, and if you persistently and seriously violate the law, there are significant consequences,” Karimjee says in the article.

A court recently jailed company director Steven Blondin for 90 days for failing to pay employees, the report says. Blondin also received $280,000 in fines plus a 25-per-cent victim surcharge, the article says, noting the six companies he operated must also pay employees more than $125,000 in owed wages, taking his total exposure to almost $500,000.

After the sentencing by Toronto justice of the peace Vladimir Bubrin in November, Ontario’s then-labour minister, Linda Jeffrey, hailed the decision, the article says.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing if the legislature has determined that in certain circumstances that it may be appropriate not just to order to pay wages but to impose a jail term,” Karimjee says in Law Times. “I don’t think it’s going to happen in every case. This was a particularly egregious one.”