In May 2015, the Ontario government appointed two Special
Advisors to review the modern-day workplace and to consider whether
the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("OLRA")
and the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000
("ESA") require amendments to reflect workplaces as we
know them today (the so called "Changing Workplaces
Review"). The Changing Workplaces Review was initiated to deal
with the government's primary concerns with key
workplace-related issues, including non-standard working
relationships, the expanding service sector, workplace diversity,
technological change and globalization, and trade liberalization.
After more than a year, on July 27, 2016, the Advisors issued a
lengthy Interim Report, which does not identify any
specific recommendations, but confirms the issues being considered,
presents the range of options under scrutiny, and invites further
input from stakeholders.
All aspects of the ESA and OLRA are open for review and debate
with three exceptions: minimum wages; the OLRA provisions relating
to the construction industry; and any matter for which independent
review exists, including compulsory interest arbitrations and
broader public sector bargaining. The Ontario government wanted the
review to be as wide-ranging as possible because of the importance
of work in our society. The government's focus has been on
enhancing protections for workers and support for business as part
of its overall economic plan to build up Ontario by growing the
economy and creating jobs.
Last year the Ontario government appointed Michael Mitchell and
The Honourable John C. Murray (former justice of the Ontario
Superior Court) as Special Advisors to undertake the review. The
Special Advisors then received written submissions from employers,
unions, employees, various associations and other interested
stakeholders, and conducted public consultations across Ontario
from June to September 2015.
The stated purposes of the July 2016 Interim Report are to
identify the issues and the options for amendments to the ESA and
OLRA and to provide an appropriate opportunity for further input
before the Advisors issue a Final Report with their
recommendations. To that end, the Interim Report identifies
approximately 50 issues and over 225 options relating to those
issues. The range of those options is very broad. The Final Report
will likely be issued early in 2017.
The Advisors confirmed that they have not yet come to any final
conclusions (with one exception regarding exemptions to the ESA)
and have an "open mind" on all issues. With respect to a
comment deadline, the Advisors have established a closing date of
August 31, 2016, for any input on the "personal emergency
leave" options identified in the Interim Report, and October
14, 2016, for feedback on all other options identified in the
Stay tuned. The changes to the OLRA and ESA will likely be
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).