On October 23rd, 2018 the Ontario Government introduced the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47). Bill 47 introduces a number of amendments to the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148). Bill 47 will repeal or change certain amendments that were presented in Bill 148. The most significant recommended changes are as follows:
Minimum wage – The minimum wage will remain at $14 per hour on January 1st, 2019. There will be no further increase until 2020, after which point increases will be based on inflation.
Scheduling – Bill 148 introduced a number of scheduling changes such as the right to request a schedule or location change and the three hour rule. Bill 47 will repeal all of the scheduling changes that were set to take effect on January 1st, 2019.
Personal Emergency Leave – Bill 148 entitled employees to 10 Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) days per year including two paid days. Employers were prohibited from requesting a medical note when a PEL day was used. Bill 47 amends the PEL entitlement. Employers will have the right to request a medical note and employees will be entitled to 8 unpaid PEL days per year (three sick days, three family responsibility days and 2 bereavement days).
Employee Misclassification – In the event of a dispute over the employment status of an individual, under Bill 148, the employer is required to prove that the individual is not an employee. The recommended change in Bill 47 is for the onus to fall on the individual to demonstrate that there is an employment relationship.
Equal Pay for Assignment Employees – Under Bill 148 employers are prohibited from differentiating pay for part-time, casual and temporary workers. Agency employees and employees of the clients must be paid the same rate if performing similar work. Bill 47 will repeal all of the Equal Pay for Assignment Employee amendments. The gender-based equal pay rules will remain, however all employees (including women) will no longer have the right to ask their employer for a pay rate review.
Public Holiday Pay – Bill 148 changed the way public holiday pay was calculated. Bill 47 will revert back to the previous method of calculating holiday pay.
Labour Relations Act – Bill 47 will repeal several amendments to the Labour Relations Act such as, card-based certification, employee lists and return to work rights.
While it may have seemed at first that the current Conservative Government would repeal all or most of the changes implemented through Bill 148, a number of amendments introduced by the previous government under Bill 148 will remain unchanged. Employees will still have the right to three weeks vacation if they have been with the same employer for more than 5 years. Enhanced leaves of up to 15 weeks will remain intact where employees or their children are faced with domestic and sexual violence. Enhanced pregnancy leave, family medical leave, child death or crime related disappearance leave and increased leave for those who have experienced a pregnancy loss will also remain unchanged.
On November 21, 2018, Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (“Bill 47”), was passed and goes into effect January 1, 2019. Employers should prepare by reviewing their human resources policies to ensure a smooth transition from the changes they may have already made as a result of Bill 148. Employers should also consider any potential implications resulting from the reduction of rights that have been bestowed through Bill 148.
ASSOCIUM is here to help employers that might find themselves wrestling with the complexities of compliance so soon after already having dealt with policy changes and staff communications necessitated by changes in the law.
Through our collaborative approaches, innovative HR products and customized advisory solutions we impact four leadership priorities: managing risk, driving productivity, strengthening talent capabilities and supporting your bottom line. Let’s connect to find out how ASSOCIUM Consultants can help your organization.