Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs: The Proposed Shake-up to Ontario Labour Laws

On May 30, 2017, The Ontario government announced a new, proposed, legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017. The proposal includes many amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) as well as changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA).

It is important to keep in mind that these are all proposed changes and nothing is final as of yet.

Some major changes proposed include:

  • Increases to Minimum Wage, primarily a general minimum wage increase to $14 on January 1, 2018, and then a further increase to $15 on January 1, 2019
    • Special minimum wage rates (liquor servers, students under 18, etc.) will increase by the same percentage as the general minimum wage.
  • Increase to Paid Vacation as all employees will now be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation once they have five years of service with the same employer.
    • This would be implemented January 1, 2018
  • Changes to Paid Sick Days will allow all employees a minimum of 10 Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) days per year, two of which must be paid.
    • This would be implemented January 1, 2018
  • Classification of Independent Contractors will change so that employers will be prohibited from misclassifying employees as “independent contractors”. New penalties will apply in cases of misclassification.
  • Overtime Pay will change so that Employees who hold more than one position with an employer must be paid at the rate for the position they are working during the overtime period.
    • This would be implemented January 1, 2018
  • Equal Pay for Part-time Employees terms of THA employees being paid equally to full-time employees doing the same work.
    • This would be implemented April 1, 2018
  • Equal Pay for Temporary Help Agency (THA) Employees in terms of THA employees being paid equally to full-time employees doing the same work.
    • This would be implemented April 1, 2018
  • Removal of the provision in the ESA requiring proof of “intent or effect” when deciding if businesses can be treated as one employer and held jointly and severally liable.
    • This would be implemented January 1, 2018
  • Scheduling – There would be a handful of changes in regards to scheduling, including the right to request schedule or location changes after employment of three months, right to refuse shifts if given less than 4 days’ notice, and payment of three hours if the employee’s shift is shortened, canceled within 48 hours of its start, or if they are “on-call” and not called in to work.
    • These would be implemented January 1, 2019

 

The majority of the proposed amendments will have an impact on all employers across Ontario, as well as employees.  Employers should take note that the Ontario Government will listen to feedback from parties involved in regards to the proposed legislation.

If you are unsure of how these changes will affect your business, or require assistance in adapting to these changes, contact us at info@rodneyemploymentlaw.com or by telephone at (905) 695-5995.

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