Flags flying above the Council Chamber at Hamilton City Hall. Credit: Joey Coleman

The City of Hamilton’s Elections Manager Tony Fallis states in emails to City Councillors that the City of Hamilton will shortly issue a public statement regarding “inaccuracies” in our recent article about the City’s attempts to hire Elections Day staff and pay them less than minimum wage.
As a member of the National NewsMedia Council, The Public Record takes all complaints regarding accuracy seriously.
The City has not provided any details of the alleged inaccuracies; an email to Council seen by The Public Record from Fallis states that our interpretation of the Employment Standards Act is wrong.
The following is an email I sent to the City’s Director of Communications in regards to the City’s planned statement, and my interpretation of the ESA.

Subject: Claims of Inaccurate Reporting by The Public Record
Date: Wed, 16 May 2018 10:58:33 -0400
From: Joey Coleman
To: John Hertel
CC: Chris Murray, Fallis, Tony,  Nicole Auty

Mr. Hertel,

I’m informed that the City’s communications staff will be issuing a statement regarding inaccuracies in my reporting on behalf of Mr. Fallis.

I will run the City’s statement in its entirety on The Public Record.

Prior to issuing the statement, I do wish to assist the City in
understanding the relevant legislation in Ontario regarding minimum wage and work.

Firstly, we need to address if the City of Hamilton is bound by law to meet the standards of Employment Standards Act.

While the City of Hamilton Act does grant the City certain privileges, it does not exempt the City from the Employment Standards Act (herein referred to as the ESA).

The current minimum wage in Ontario is $14 per hour. (ESA 23.1)

The work of elections day staff is not one of the types of work listed as exempt from the $14 per hour rate. If the City does hire elections day staff who are under the age of 18, the City can pay them $13.15 per hour.

Ontario Regulation 285/01 applies to the City of Hamilton.

The City of Hamilton’s posting for elections day staff states they are required to be on site one hour prior to the opening of polls.

O.Reg 285/01 1.1 states that when an employee is “required to remain at the place of employment, (i) waiting or holding himself or herself ready for call to work” they must be paid.

The Ministry of Labour clarifies on their website that mandatory training is work, and must be paid by the employer.

My calculation is accurate:

Two hours for training
9am to 9pm for election day

A total of 14 hours.

I do note that I have one inaccuracy, I calculated the possibility of an unpaid hour for a meal break. The City states there will be no meal breaks.

I will issue a correction for suggesting the City would provide its employees with an opportunity to eat during a 12 hour work day.

Therefore, I stand behind my reporting, and look forward to Mr. Fallis’ public statement of my inaccuracies.

Thank you,

Joey Coleman
Independent Journalist
Publisher, The Public Record