The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act,
2014 received Royal Assent on November 20, 2014, amending
five employment and labour statutes, including the Employment
Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the
Occupational Health and Safety Act. This posting reviews some
highlights of the amendments.
Employment Standards Act
As of February 20, 2015, the maximum amount an employment
standards officer may order for unpaid wages will no longer be
capped at $10,000 per employee. The new section 103(4.1) under will
impose no limit on the amount an officer may order.
New self-auditing requirements under will come into force on May
20, 2015. An employment standards officer may require an employer
to conduct an examination of the employer's records and/or
practices to determine compliance with the Act or regulations.
Subsequent reporting obligations depend on the type of infractions
discovered, if any. This new power will be in addition to
employment standards officers' current inspection,
investigation, and enforcement powers.
As of November 20, 2015 clients of temporary help agencies will
be deemed to be employers of assignment employees. In this vein,
orders issued against them by employment standards officers will be
treated as orders against employers. Moreover, as deemed employers,
clients will share joint and several liability with agencies for
assignment of employees' unpaid wages.
Clients of temporary help agencies will also have new
record-keeping obligations respecting the number of hours worked by
each assignment employee. These records will need to be retained
for three years and made available to employment standards officers
when requested upon inspection.
As well, Employers will be required to provide each employee
with a copy of the most recent informational poster published
by the Minister of Labour, and Ministry-prepared translations
of such posters (if any), if requested by the employee.
Labour Relations Act
Two pertinent changes for the construction industry will come
into effect on May 20, 2015 affecting the construction industry.
Where a trade union and an employer have entered into a collective
agreement, another trade union may apply to the Board for
certification as bargaining agent during a specified two-month open
period. The commencement of this period depends on the term of the
existing collective agreement.
A separate two-month period will be available to employees to
apply to the Board for a declaration that the trade union no longer
represents them as bargaining agent. The timing of this two-month
open period will also depend on the term of the collective
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Employers' obligations to workers under the OHSA will have a
broader scope as of November 20, 2014 with the substitution of a
new definition of "worker". Prior to this change, only
persons who worked for monetary compensation qualified as
"workers". The current more comprehensive definition
includes persons who do not receive monetary
compensation—namely, volunteers, secondary school students
working under approved work experience programs, persons working
under non-compensatory programs approved by a post-secondary
institution, and persons who do not qualify as
"employees" under the ESA but receive training from an
employer. The definition also encompasses "such other persons
as may be prescribed who perform work or supply service for no
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