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Ottawa chapter activist champions Bill 12, the Protecting Employees’ Tips Act

A Council of Canadians Ottawa chapter activist drove to Toronto last month to testify at a provincial social policy committee hearing in support of Bill 12, the Protecting Employees’ Tips Act.

Ottawa-based banquet server Michael Vorobej says that tip theft by employers is a growing problem for low-wage workers.

The National Post has reported, “For many restaurant servers, hairstylists, masseurs and others in the service industry, gratuities are a big part of their income. But in many cases, servers and others have seen those tips eroded by employers who take a cut, whether to cover the cost of broken dishes, pay for credit card transaction fees or to boost profits.”

Vorobej says, “In many restaurants you have to hand over all your tips to your manager at the end of your shift and they will determine how much you get in tips.”

But now the Toronto Star reports, “The Ontario government is expected to pass new legislation Monday [Dec. 14] making it illegal for employers to withhold tips from workers. …The bill will also allow the Ministry of Labour to collect stolen tips as if they were unpaid wages under the Employment Standards Act.”

AM980 adds that the bill passed third reading at Queen’s Park on Dec. 7.

That article reports, “‘We are very pleased that Bill 12 passed to protect employees’ tips’, said Michael Vorobej of the Ottawa Servers’ Association.”

The Toronto Star cautions that the key to the legislation’s success will be effective enforcement. It reports, “Enforcing the bill is key to protecting those who need it most, Vorobej added. ‘There’s always going to be humble jobs in our economy. But they don’t have to be humiliating.'”

Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador have similar laws already place.

For more about the Ottawa Servers’ Association, please click here.