The Ontario government introduced new legislation on July
16,2014 to amend various employment and labour statutes. The
legislation, called the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger
Economy Act, would make the following changes if enacted:
A. To the Employment
Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009. The Act
1) Expand the scope of this legislation,
which currently only applies to live-in caregivers employed in
Ontario, to all foreign nationals in an immigration or foreign
temporary program employed or seeking employment in Ontario.
B. To the Employment
Standards Act, 2000. The Act would:
1) Require employers to provide their
employees with the most updated informational poster from the
Ministry of Labour. Employers would also be required to provide
translations of the information where necessary.
2) Tie the minimum wage to the Ontario
Consumer Price Index. The new minimum wage would be announced each
year on April 1st, and would come into force on October
1st of the same year.
3) Provide new protections for assignment
employees. Temporary help agencies and their clients would be
required to maintain certain records in respect of assignment
employees, and would also be held liable for certain unpaid wages
owing to assignment employees.
4) Allow employment standards officers to
examine an employer's records or practices to determine whether
the employer is in compliance with the Employment Standards
Act. The officer would be required to give written notice to
the employer before the examination.
5) Remove the $10,000 cap on wages an
employment standards officer could award to an employee owed by an
6) Extend the time limit employees could
recover wages against employers from six months, or one year in
certain cases, to two years.
C. To the Labour Relations
Act, 1995. The Act would:
1) Decrease the period trade unions could
apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for certification on
behalf of employees in a construction industry bargaining unit,
from three months to two months.
2) Decrease the period that unionized
construction industry employees can apply to the Ontario Labour
Relations Board for a declaration that a trade union no longer
represents their bargaining unit, from three months to two
D. To the Occupational Health
and Safety Act, 1990. The Act would:
1) Expand the definition of
'worker' to include: secondary, or post-secondary students
who participate in an authorized program for no monetary
compensation; a person who receives training from an employer but
who is not yet an employee; and other persons who provide work for
an employer for no monetary compensation.
E. To the Workplace Safety
and Insurance Act, 1997. The Act would:
1) Add the definition of 'temporary
help agency' to this Act. This definition includes
employers whose primary business is lending or hiring its workers
to other employers on a temporary basis for a fee.
2) Assign any workplace injury and
accident costs a temporary worker suffers to the employer, not the
temporary help agency that lent out the worker's services.
3) Mandate the employer give notice to
the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board within three days of a
temporary worker's injury, if the worker required healthcare or
is unable to earn full wages. The employer could also be charged a
fine for failing to comply with this notice requirement.
The proposed legislative amendments have only just passed First
Reading. It is unclear whether the Ontario government intends these
legislative amendments to receive Royal Assent, or whether these
amendments themselves will be adjusted in the coming months.
Updates will follow as the bill passes through its next stages.
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