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Open for Business & Up for Discussion
October 24, 2018
Open for Business & Up for Discussion

A law is not a law until the newly elected party gets their say too!

Don’t get your red pen yet and change your employee policies … but on October 23, the Ontario Government announced Bill  47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.  This newly proposed Bill makes a number of amendments to the previous Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.  

Bill 148 had a number of proposals that came into effect on January 1, 2018, and more that were to be put into place for January 1, 2019.

Here’s a rundown on a few of the announced reforms of Bill 47, once it is given Royal Assent.

Changes from Bill 148 to Bill 47:

Minimum Wage: 
As of January 1, 2018, under Bill 148 - $14.00
As of January 1, 2019, under Bill 148 - $15.00
Under the *NEW* Bill 47 - Paused at $14/hour for 33 months (until 2020). Future increases to the minimum wage will be calculated based on the rate of inflation.

Scheduling Provisions:
As of January 1,  2019, under Bill 148 -

  • Employers must pay 3 hours for a shift that is canceled or reduced within 48 hours of the shift to begin.
  • Employers must pay a minimum of 3 hours pay for being on-call if the employee is available to work, but is not called into work.
  • Employees may refuse requests to work or be on-call with less than 96 hours’ notice without fear of repercussion.
  • Employees can request a change to their schedule or work location after they have been employed for at least 3 months without fear of reprisal.

Under the *NEW* Bill 47  - All above provisions repealed.

Equal Pay for Equal Work:
As of January 1,  2019, under Bill 148  - Employers cannot pay one employee less than another due to different employment status if they both perform equal work. (Status could include full-time, part-time, casual, permanent, temporary, or seasonal). As well, employers cannot pay assignment employees less than what is paid to directly employed individuals. 

Under the *NEW* Bill 47 - Repealing equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status).

Personal Emergency Leave:
As of January 1,  2018, under Bill 148  - Provide 2 days paid Personal Emergency Leave and 8 unpaid.

Under the *NEW* Bill 47 - Employers would have the right to require evidence of entitlement to the leave that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Proof Of Absence:
As of January 1, 2018, under Bill 148  - No longer able to request a doctor's note as proof of absence for illness. 

Under the *NEW* Bill 47 - Employers would have the right to require evidence of entitlement to the leave that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Union Certification:
As of January 1, 2018 , under Bill 148 -

  • Removed the need for a secret ballot vote and extended card-based union certification to a number of sectors.
  • Required employers to provide unions with access to employee lists and employee contact information where the union is able to demonstrate 20% employee support.

Under the *NEW* Bill 47 - Both repealed.

What hasn't changed with Bill 47?

The following things will remain in effect:

  • Maintain expansion of paid vacation from 2 weeks to 3 weeks after 5 years with the same employer.
  • Maintain domestic or sexual violence leave.
  • Maintain the requirement to provide equal pay for equal work on the basis of sex.

And despite what the headlines tried to make you fear, the ability to require a worker to wear an elevated heel is also not a point of discussion. This part of Bill 148 was established under the Occupation Health & Safety Act and has not been changed.

Want to know more about Bill 47, Ontario Open for Business, 2018 legislation?

Read about all the changes in Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act,  and the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeships proposed here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-47.

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