Canada: Ontario Introduces Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act To Reform Employment And Labour Law

On May 23, 2017, The Changing Workplaces Review – Final Report (Report) was released, recommending major changes to the province's employment standards and labour relations legislation. For further information on the Report, see our May 2017 Blakes Bulletin: Ontario Considers Major Employment and Labour Law Reform: Key Recommendations and How They Will Impact Employers. The Ontario government promised to move quickly in responding to the Report's recommendations, and it has done so by tabling new legislation.

On June 1, 2017, the government introduced the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148), which will, if enacted, amend Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA ) in accordance with many of the Report's recommendations. These amendments will have significant implications for employers in Ontario.

The Bill's key proposals are as follows:

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS

  • Minimum Wage: Increase the general minimum wage to C$14/hour effective January 1, 2018, followed by a further increase to C$15/hour effective January 1, 2019.
  • Scheduling: Create new rights for employees related to scheduling, including the following:

    • An employee will have the right to refuse an employer's request or demand to work on a day that the employee was not scheduled to work if the request or demand is made less than 96 hours before the time the employee would commence work.
    • If an employer cancels an employee's scheduled day of work with less than 48 hours' notice, the employer will be required to pay the employee wages equal to the employee's regular rate for three hours of work.
    • An employee who is "on call" and not called to work (or who is called into work and works for less than three hours) must be paid his or her regular rate for three hours of work.
    • An employee will be permitted to request a change to his or her schedule or work location after three months' employment. If the employer denies the employee's request, the employer must provide reasons for the denial.
  • Vacation: Increase minimum vacation entitlements to three weeks per year after five years of employment.
  • Holiday Pay: Simplify the calculation of public holiday pay based on the number of days actually worked in the pay period immediately preceding the public holiday.
  • Leaves of Absence: Strengthen certain existing leaves of absence:

    • Personal emergency leave will be available to all employees, rather than only those in workplaces with 50 or more employees. The first two days taken will be paid, after which the employee will be entitled to a further eight unpaid days. While an employer may require an employee who takes leave to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances that the employee is entitled to the leave, the employer cannot require the employee to provide a certificate from a qualified health practitioner.
    • An employee with six consecutive months' service whose child dies from any cause (not only crime-related) will be entitled to child death leave for a period of up to 104 weeks. This leave is distinct from crime-related child disappearance leave, which has also been increased to 104 weeks.
    • Entitlement to family medical leave is increased to 27 weeks in a 52-week period.
  • Misclassification: Prohibit employers from treating a person who is an employee of the employer as if that person were not an employee (i.e., addressing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors). In the case of a dispute, the burden of proof that the person is not an employee lies with the employer.
  • Penalties for Employers: Provide that the director of employment standards may make public (including via the Internet) the name of the employer and its contravention, if that employer is found in violation of employment standards legislation.
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work: With certain exceptions, prohibit an employer from paying an employee at a rate of pay less than the rate paid to another employee because of a difference in employment status. This protection would also extend to temporary help agency employees.
  • Joint Liability of Related Employers: Eliminate the requirement of showing "intent or effect" to undermine the ESA when determining whether related businesses can be treated as one employer and held jointly and severally liable under the ESA.

With various exceptions, ESA amendments would come into force on January 1, 2018, with the earliest amendments coming into force the day the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 receives royal assent.

LABOUR RELATIONS

  • Certification: Implement the following rules regarding certification of unions:

    • Allow card-based certification in the building services, home care and community services, and temporary help agency industries.
    • Allow unions with the support of at least 20 per cent of an organization's employees to access a complete list of that organization's employees, along with those employees' phone numbers and personal emails.
    • Allow the Ontario Labour Relations Board to conduct votes outside the workplace, as well as electronically and by telephone.
  • Consolidation of Bargaining Units: Empower the Ontario Labour Relations Board to, among other things, consolidate a certified bargaining unit with an existing bargaining unit of employees of the employer represented by the same union.
  • Successor Rights: Extend successor rights to the building services industry (i.e., building cleaning services, food services and security services).
  • Prosecutions and Penalties: Increase maximum fines for contravention to C$5,000 for individuals and C$100,000 for organizations.
  • Return to Work: Remove the six-month limitation before an employee can return to work after commencement of a lawful strike.

LRA amendments would come into force six months after the day the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 receives royal assent.

NEXT STEPS FOR EMPLOYERS

Although the Bill is not yet law (and may undergo changes before it ultimately comes into force), employers should begin preparing for the significant changes that are likely to come to workplaces across the province. At minimum, employers are recommended to begin identifying those handbooks, policies, and practices (including scheduling and payroll practices) that are likely to require revisions or updates in connection with the proposed amendments to the legislation. Additionally, employers should consider whether any of their offer letter or employment agreement templates will need to be updated to reflect the new minimum standards. Employers will also want to consider any training that may be necessary to ensure that managers and supervisors are aware of, and in compliance with, the amendments once they come into force.

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.

Authors
Events from this Firm
12 Sep 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Please join us as we take an in-depth look at the legislation and the impact on the industry.

14 Sep 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Change, stress and uncertainty are ever]present factors in todayfs legal environment, and specific aspects about the practice of law make it difficult to thrive in the profession long term. Luckily, there are specific research]based strategies that have been shown to help lawyers thrive and lead to more effective ways to manage stress and pressure.

5 Oct 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Blakes is proud to host our New to In-House Series, designed to bring together junior and mid-level in-house counsel for a candid exchange of insights to highlight and address some of the challenges and opportunities facing in-house lawyers in their roles today.

 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
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).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.