The Closing the Gap Research Team is pleased to announce the publication of their new book, Closing the Enforcement Gap: Improving Protections for People in Precarious Jobs (University of Toronto Press, 2020).
This book is the culmination of years of research (beginning in 2012) and is the only comprehensive analysis of employment standards in Ontario. The research team would like to thank the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their support through its Partnership Grants program, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Labour for providing access to the administrative data upon which this study is based. Thanks as well to the project’s numerous academic and community research partners, and all the graduate students who worked as RAs, without whom a study of this magnitude simply would not have been possible.
The book is dedicated to the Workers’ Action Centre and all those fighting for fair employment standards in Ontario.
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