Proposed Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws
/ Author: Alison Brown
/ Categories: News, Newsletters /
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Proposed Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws

What you should know about Bill 148

In May 2017, the Ontario government revealed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The legislative proposals in Bill 148 include broad-ranging amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.

CLAC participated in the labour and employment law review that led up to this bill, and made oral and written submissions on July 19.

Here's a look at some of the proposed changes.


Minimum Wage Increases

The Ontario government is proposing to increase the general minimum wage to

  • $11.60 per hour on October 1, 2017
  • $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019

Changes to Employment Standards Act (ESA)

Paid Vacation
The proposed legislation would ensure that all employees are entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer. 

Paid Personal Emergency Leave
Personal emergency leave (PEL) currently applies only in workplaces with 50 or more employees. Under the proposed amendments, this threshold would be eliminated.

The proposed legislation would also ensure all employees are entitled to 10 PEL days per year, including two paid PEL days.

Physician Notes for Absences
The proposed changes would prohibit employers from requesting a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave.

Enhancing Employment Standards Enforcement
The province plans to hire up to 175 more employment standards officers and launch a program to educate employees and small- and medium-sized businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act.


Changes to the Labour Relations Act

The proposed legislation would make the following changes to the union certification process:

  • Allow unions to access employee lists and certain contact information, provided the union can demonstrate that it has already achieved the support of 20 percent of employees involved.
  • Expressly empower the Ontario Labour Relations Board to conduct votes outside the workplace, including electronically and by telephone.

Return-to-Work Rights and Procedures
Currently, the Labour Relations Act gives employees the right, under certain conditions, to return to work within six months of the commencement of a lawful strike. The proposed changes would remove the six-month limitation. The proposed legislation would also normally require an employer to reinstate an employee at the conclusion of a legal strike or lock-out.

Just Cause Protection
The proposed legislation would require an employer to reinstate an employee at the conclusion of a legal strike or lock-out (subject to certain conditions), and to provide access to grievance arbitration for the enforcement of that obligation. 

Fines
The proposals would increase maximum fines under the Labour Relations Act to $5,000 for individuals and $100,000 for organizations (from the current $2,000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations). 


CLAC’s View
CLAC is generally supportive of much in the proposed legislation. We remain active in offering feedback and viewpoints to the Ontario Ministry of Labour in the interests of our members. 

For a full report on the proposed changes to Ontario’s employment and labour laws, view the release from the Ontario Ministry of Labour at ontario.ca/mol. 

Read CLAC's full response here. https://clac.ca/Your-voice/Article/ArtMID/4829/ArticleID/285/CLAC-Stands-up-for-Workers-on-Bill-148 

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