On May 30, 2017, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the government’s intention to introduce new workplace legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The proposed legislation takes into account many of the recommendations outlined in the Ministry of Labour-commissioned Changing Workplaces Review conducted by Special Advisors, C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray, over the course of two years (issued on May 23, 2017). This was the first independent review ever conducted of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995 together in a single process.
Under the proposed legislation, the following are some of the major changes that may impact your workplace:
Call-In and On-Call Pay: Employers will be required to provide a minimum of 3 hours pay at regular rate for employees who are called into work (or who are “on call” but are not called into work).
- Equal Pay for Casual, Part-Time, Temporary & Seasonal Employees, and for Temp Help Agency Employees: Employers must pay casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees equal to full-time employees when they perform the same job for the same employer.
- Independent Contractors: Contractors will be presumed to be employees and entitled to all associated benefits. Employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors will face penalties.
- Minimum Wage Increase: Minimum wage will change to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019 (with similar, but reduced, increases for student minimum wage).
- Paid Vacation: Employees will have an increased vacation entitlement to 3 weeks per year after 5 years of employment with the same employer (the current minimum standard is 2 weeks of vacation per year).
- Paid Emergency Leave: ESA Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) provisions will apply to all workplaces (not just those with 50+ employees). All employees will be entitled to 10 PEL days per year, with two paid PEL days.
- Protected Leaves: The current job-protected leaves will be expanded to include other circumstances, such as the death of a child or the crime-related death or disappearance.
- Public Holiday Pay: The government will introduce simplified provisions that make it easier for employers to calculate public holiday pay.
- Scheduling: Employees will be granted the right to request schedule or location changes after having been employed for 12 months and will also have the ability to refuse to accept shifts without repercussion if their employer asks them to work with less than 4 days notice.
There are also many proposed changes to the current labour relations processes, including the certification and collective bargaining processes.
Before becoming law, the proposed legislation must be passed by the provincial legislature. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 was introduced and passed First Reading on June 1, 2017. The proposed bill will be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs over the summer before the Ontario legislature resumes in Session in September 2017. The government intends to pass the legislation into law by 2018.
We commit to providing further updates once the draft legislation has been officially released.
If you have questions about how this will impact your workplace please contact Christina Atkinson, Director, DJB Human Resources Advisory Services.