On November 6, 2014, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger
Economy Act, 2014 (the "Act"), also known as Bill
18, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature. The Act
includes a number of significant changes of concern for Ontario
1. The Act prescribes an annual minimum wage review, and links
all future minimum wage increases directly to the Consumer Price
Index for Ontario. The minimum wage rate will be announced in April
of each year, and will come into effect as of October
1st of that year.
2. Unpaid co-op students and other "unpaid learners"
will be specifically included in the definition of
"worker" under the Occupational Health and Safety
Act (the "OHSA"). This will extend the rights given
to all workers under the OHSA to students and other unpaid workers,
such as the right to refuse unsafe work.
3. The Act will eliminate the current $10,000 cap on the
recovery of unpaid wages through orders to pay issued by the
Ontario Ministry of Labour. In addition, the period of time for
which an employee will be able to seek recovery of unpaid wages
will be increased from six months to two years.
4. The Act will introduce new requirements for temporary help
agencies, and the employers who utilize the services of temporary
help agencies, including making both parties jointly and severally
liable for certain employment standards violations. These
violations include the failure to pay regular wages, overtime pay,
public holiday pay and premium pay.
Some of the new requirements under the Act will come into force
immediately upon the Act receiving Royal Assent. Other requirements
will come into force based on specific schedules established under
the Act. For example, the changes to the monetary cap and time
limit for recovery of wages through the Ministry of Labour are
scheduled to come into force three months after the Act receives
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