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Did Mayor Ford’s Office Violate the Employment Standards Act

I noted the other day how the new Deputy Mayor of Toronto told a reporter that the City intends to fine contractors whose employees exercise their legal right to strike, and how highly unusual it was a for a government to try to discourage employees from exercising legal rights.

Now,  Andrew Langille at the Blog Youth and Work advises me of a bizarre quote from Mayor Ford’sford manager and the new Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s office.  The National Post printed the following quote from Nick Kouvalis about how Ford’s office hired staff for the campaign office:

kouv“I wanted young kids because I could pay them nothing and they would do what I told them to,” he said. “I paid them $500 a week and I wanted 60 or 70 hours a week out of them.”

Let’s do that math then.  $500 divided by 60 hours = $8.33 per hour.    $500 divided by 70 hours is $ 7.14. The minimum wage is $10.25. Anyone see a problem here?

It’s also illegal to have workers work more than 48 hours in a week, unless the provincial government has approved an agreement to work more than this.  Anyone know if Ford’s people obtained this approval?  And of course  Ford would have had to pay overtime to any employee who worked more than 44 hours in a week, unless they entered into a valid averaging agreement to calculate overtime pay based on an average over a period of weeks.  Wonder if overtime was paid.

Perhaps Kouvalis is just blowing smoke, as part of Ford’s “tough guy” talk.  You know, look at us, we don’t even need to comply with laws, we’re so tough.  We can exploit young people, because they won’t stand up to us.   Or perhaps he’s saying “I’d like them to work 60 or 70 hours per week for $500, but in fact they didn’t do that.”  If that’s the case, do you think it is appropriate for the Mayor’s Chief of Staff to be bragging about how he wishes he could exploit his employees?

Or perhaps Kouvalis is telling the truth and Ford’s people are just plain law-breakers.  I wonder what the real story is.  Sure would be good if reporters actually asked these sorts of questions occasionally.  You’d think that a comment by the City’s Chief of Staff that on its face indicates the Mayor’s campaign broke the law would be deserving of some follow up questions.

If any of Ford’s employees actually read this, and are interested in obtaining their legal entitlements, get in touch with me.  We can talk.


One Response to Did Mayor Ford’s Office Violate the Employment Standards Act

  1. pogge

    December 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Mr. Kouvalis is making quite a name for himself. In fact, I recognized the name right away.

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