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The practice of job ghosting by companies may soon be outlawed in Ontario. The provincial government is spearheading legislative changes to penalize exploitative employers by proposing to elevate the maximum fines for violating the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to the highest level in Canada.

The proposed ESA amendments will mandate larger employers to provide application status updates to interviewed job seekers. They must also disclose in publicly advertised job postings whether a position is currently available or intended to build future candidate pipelines.

ESA violations also encompass failure to pay wages, discrimination against employees for taking pregnancy or parental leave, and unequal pay for work of equal value based on gender.

Penalties for ESA violations

Regarding fines, the upcoming legislation, if approved, will double the maximum penalty for ESA breaches from $50,000 to $100,000, surpassing any other fine in Canada. Repeat offenders who contravene the same ESA provision three or more times could face penalties ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, among the most significant penalties in Canada.

Job Ghosting in real numbers

Recent study findings shed light on hiring practices amidst discussions around job ghosting. A survey by Clarify Capital revealed that 50 percent of hiring managers create job openings primarily to maintain a talent pool for future hires, rather than with immediate hiring intentions.

According to the findings, employers post ‘ghost jobs’ for various motives. Approximately half of the 1,045 managers surveyed claimed to maintain job listings to continually attract new talent. Meanwhile, 43% stated they weren’t actively trying to fill positions to maintain employee motivation or create an illusion of company expansion.


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