Yesterday in a revealing article in the National Post, Nick Kouvalis, the campaign manager and newly minted Chief of Staff for Mayor-Elect Rob Ford, made some interesting comments. Kouvalis was quoted as saying "I wanted young kids because I could pay them nothing and they would do what I told them to," he goes on to say that: "I paid them $500 a week and I wanted 60 or 70 hours a week out of them".
It appears that the Rob Ford Campaign may have breached Ontario's Employment Standards Act, which sets out workplace standards relating to minimum wage and overtime; furthermore, an employer cannot contract out of these provisions in normal circumstances. Considering that the current minimum wage is $10.25, the numbers simply don't add up when one considers the legal minimum required under Ontario's laws. Beyond this, Kouvalis' comments are highly problematic considering he occupies a senior position within the City of Toronto and betrays an attitude easily characterized as crude and exploitive.
For information about how to file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour, see this page. Given that the vast majority of young voters didn't vote for Rob Ford it's unfortunate that one of his key staffers would approach recruiting and employing young people in the way he did. Given the rampant exploitation, abuse, and discrimination that youth face within the context of employment it's disheartening to see attitudes like this openly displayed.
So what I'm wondering now is whether the gravy train stops by nickel and diming young workers or is Rob Ford going to pay his staffers for all the hours they worked?