In A Flash

Ontario Passes Bill 47 Making Ontario Open for Business

The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, known as Bill 47, which amends the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), Ontario Labour Relations Act (“LRA”), and the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act (“OCOT”) passed its Third Reading yesterday and received Royal Assent.

The majority of the changes to the ESA will come into effect on January 1, 2019, while the majority of the changes to the LRA and the OCOT are in effect as of November 21, 2018, with certain exceptions.

Bill 47 reverses many of the changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws created by Bill 148.  Subject to our comments below regarding some of the amendments arising from Bill 47, a full review can be found in our In a Flash of October 23, 2018, Bye Bye Bill 148: Ontario Reverses Recent Changes to Workplace Laws

Some of the notable Bill 47 amendments passed are:

Employment Standards Act

  1. The current right to receive 10 Personal Emergency Leave days, of which 2 are paid, will be replaced with a package of 8 unpaid annual leave days made up of:

◦Three unpaid days for personal illness
◦Two unpaid bereavement leave days
◦Three unpaid days for “family responsibilities”

  1. Certain aspects of the Equal Pay for Equal Work provision imposed by Bill 148 will be repealed, thereby permitting employers to differentiate pay on the basis of employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status). The requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex will remain.
  2. The “Three Hour Rule” will be modified such that where an employee who regularly works more than three hours per day is required to report to work, but works less than three hours, the employee will be paid for three hours.
  3. Freezes minimum wage at $14.00 / hour, at least until October 2020. Further increases in minimum wage to start October 2020, and will be tied to inflation.

Labour Relations Act

  1. Repealing card-based certification on workers in home care, building services, and temporary help agencies therefore giving workers the right to vote through a secret ballot.
  2. Section 15.1 of the Labour Relations Act (which gave the Board the power to review the structure of bargaining units in certain circumstances) has been entirely repealed and not replaced.

Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act

  1. The journeyperson to apprentice ratio for all trades subject to ratios shall not exceed one apprentice for each journeyperson.

Not all amendments from Bill 148 were repealed.  The following Bill 148 amendments remain in place:

Employment Standards Act

  1. Extension of pregnancy/parental leave to a total of 18 months is preserved;
  2. Extension of family medical leave from 8 weeks to 28 weeks is preserved;
  3. Creation of critical illness leave which includes ability to take critical illness leave to care for a critically ill adult is preserved (replaced critically ill child care leave);
  4. Creation of child death leave (distinct from crime-related child disappearance leave) is preserved.

Labour Relations Act

  1. Deemed sale of business upon a change of building service providers is preserved;
  2. Power of Board to order votes to take place outside the workplace, electronically or by phone and to give directions about voting process is preserved;
  3. Prohibition on discharge or discipline of employees without just cause during certain bargaining periods is preserved;
  4. Power of Board to make interim decisions and orders, and to do so without providing reasons, is preserved.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of any upcoming changes to Ontario’s workplace laws please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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