Ontario's government introduced workplace legislation on
July 16, 2014 that would affect five labour and employment statutes
in the province. Significant changes that are proposed in the
Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014
Eliminating the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages by
employees through the Ministry of Labour claim process under the
Employment Standards Act, 2000;
Increasing the limitation period to two years for employees to
recover unpaid wages through the Ministry of Labour claim process
under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The current
limitation period is six months or one year depending on the type
Requiring employers to provide each of their employees with a
copy of the most recent poster published by the Ministry of Labour
that provides information about the Employment Standards Act,
2000. An employer must provide available translations of the
poster if requested by an employee;
Making temporary help agencies and their clients jointly and
severally liable for unpaid regular wages and unpaid overtime
Requiring the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to assign
workplace injury and accident costs to temporary help agency
clients when an employee is injured while performing work for the
Extending the safety protections under the Occupational
Health and Safety Act to unpaid workers receiving training
under prescribed conditions;
Decreasing the construction industry's open period, when
construction workers can join a different union close to the end of
the term of their collective agreement, from three months to two
Expanding employment protections for foreign nationals who are
in Ontario under an immigration or foreign temporary employee
program. The protections include a prohibition on charging a
recruiter fee or taking possession of the foreign national's
property, such as their passport or work permit; and
Tying future minimum wage increases under the Employment
Standards Act, 2000 to the Consumer Price Index. The
new minimum wage will be announced by April 1 of each year and will
come into effect on October 1.
It is currently unclear when the proposed changes will be passed
by the Ontario legislature. We will keep you apprised of any
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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