New employment law changes
On October 23, 2018, the new Conservative Ontario government introduced Bill 47, the “Making Ontario Open for Business Act”, getting rid of parts of “Bill 148”, the former Liberal government’s “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017”
Changes to Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act and the College of Trades legislation.
This is a summary of some of the key changes to non-union-related employment law and to the college of trades. It does not address any changes to unionized workplaces.
Where specific details are given in blockquotes, they come from Yosie Saint-Cyr‘s excellent article “Ontario Bill Tabled to Repeal Liberal Employment Standards Reforms“, which I recommend that you read in full.
Scheduling Rule Changes (to come into effect 2019-01-01):
- Employers are no longer required to provide 96 hours’ notice to schedule an employee to work on a day they were not previously scheduled (before employees could refuse).
- Employers are no longer to discuss an employee’s request to change his/her work schedule or work location after an employee has been employed for at least three months.
- The record-keeping requirements that relate to the above-noted scheduling provisions.
Personal Emergency Leave (including 2 paid days) will be replaced with an specific annual entitlements as detailed below,
Employees can receive unpaid days off for personal illness. Conditions:
— “The employee must advise the employer before taking the leave of his or her intention, and if unable to do so, as soon as possible when taking the leave.”
— “An employer may require an employee who takes leave to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances that the employee is entitled to the leave, such as a doctor’s note. As a result, the prohibition on requesting doctor’s notes will be repealed.”
— “If an employee takes the leave and has already paid or unpaid sick leave entitlements under an employment contract, the Act states that if the employee does take a sick day whether it is paid or unpaid, it is deemed as taking a sick leave under the Employment Standards Act but must follow the same rules.”
— “If an employee takes any part of a day as leave, the employer may deem the employee to have taken one day of leave on that day.”
Employees can receive 3 unpaid days off for family responsibilities. Details and conditions:
An employee can receive 2 unpaid days off for bereavement leave:
Medical note: employers would have the right to require evidence of entitlement to the leave that is reasonable in the circumstances (from a qualified health practitioner).
Vacation and vacation pay:
- Every employee worker in Ontario to receive three weeks of paid vacation after five years’ employment.
- Maintaining the Pro-Rated Public Holiday Pay Formula. Repealed: the averaging public holiday pay formula prescribed by Bill 148.
Employee or contractor?
- Misclassification: Repealing the requirement for the employer to prove that an individual is not an employee (“reverse onus”) where there is a dispute over whether the individual is an employee.
- Whether they get rid of the 100+ new inspectors sent out to sniff for this isn’t mentioned.
“Equal Pay” Provisions changed:
- Removed: equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status).
- Retained: the requirement for equal pay for equal work on the basis of sex will remain.
Minimum Wage will remain at $14.00 Hour.
- Keeping the minimum wage at $14 on January 1, 2019.
- Not rolling back any previous minimum wage increase.
- Establishing a 33-month pause in minimum wage increases with annual increases to the minimum wage, tied to inflation, to restart in 2020.
Three Hour Rules:
- Retained: Three hours’ pay in the event of cancellation of a scheduled shift or an on-call shift within 48 hours before the shift was to begin. (Where an employee who regularly works more than three hours a day is required to report to work, but works less than three hours, the employee would be paid for three hours.)
- Now not required to provide 3 hours of “on-call” pay.
- Now not required to provide 3 hours’ pay for a shift cancelled within 48 hours.
- Three Weeks’ Paid Vacation After 5 years of Service.
- Maintaining current paid leave provisions for cases of domestic and sexual violence affecting an employee or an employee’s child.
- Delaying the January 1, 2019 repeal of the exclusion from the ESA of individuals who perform work in a simulated job or working environment if the primary purpose is the individual’s rehabilitation.
- The repeal would instead come into force on proclamation.
Penalties for Contravention
- The government is returning to the previous administrative penalties for contraventions of the ESA by decreasing the maximum penalties from $350/$700/$1500 to $250/$500/$1000, respectively.
Other things retained from Bill 148:
College of Trades
- Section 60 of the Act, which provides for review panels to make determinations about journeyperson to apprentice ratios, and related provisions, are repealed.
- A new section provides that the journeyperson to apprentice ratio for all trades that are subject to ratios shall not exceed one apprentice for each journeyperson. This ratio may be changed by regulation.
- “A new Part XIV.1 is added to the Act authorizing the Minister to make a regulation vesting, in the Minister, control and charge over the administration of the affairs of the Board. If such a regulation is made, the Minister is also authorized to, among other things, terminate the appointment of any member of the governing structure of the College and dissolve any divisional board or trade board. Power is also added to authorize regulations modifying, removing or adding to the College’s, Board’s or Registrar’s powers, duties or objects, and providing for preparations to be made to wind-up the College.”