Bill 148 - Staying Abreast of Ontario Employment Legislation

September 14, 2018

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The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148) has a multiyear phase in period that impacts the existing Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA), and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Businesses need to be aware of these important changes, including the timing of these changes, as they can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line. Knowledge is key and allows you to plan for the evolving workforce.

As of January 2019, you need to be aware of the following changes:

Three-hour rule — As of January 1, 2019, employers will be required to pay wages to employees for three hours of work if:

  • A shift is cancelled within 48 hours of the scheduled start time; or
  • The employee regularly works more than three hours in a day, is present for work, but works less than three hours; or
  • The employee is on call and available for work, but is not called into work or works less than three hours.

The following 2018 changes are also noteworthy:

Minimum wage — The general minimum wage increased to $14 an hour as of January 1, 2018, and it will increase to $15 an hour starting January 1, 2019 

Temporary help agencies — If long-term assignments (three months or more) end early, employers will be required to provide one week’s written notice to employees or pay one week’s wages in lieu of notice

Vacation time — Employees will be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years with the same employer

Equal pay for equal work — As of April 1, 2018, it is mandatory for employers to pay casual, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees the same rate as full-time/permanent employees if their work is substantively the same

Personal emergency leave — Three significant changes were made to the personal emergency leave provision of the ESA:

  • The 50-employee threshold was eliminated
  • The first two days of the 10-day entitlement is a paid leave (after seven days of employment)
  • Employers are banned from requiring a medical note from an employee taking personal emergency leave

How Can BDO Help?

BDO is a leading provider of professional services to both private and public sector organizations in virtually all business sectors. Our Human Resources Advisory team delivers a comprehensive range of advice and ongoing support to ensure organizations are in full alignment (i.e. from their business strategy, to their organizational structure and culture, while also ensuring proper employee positioning within the organization) for success. Our advisors can help ensure your business complies with Bill 148 and other employment legislation that may affect your business. Implementing policies and procedures to meet employment standards and instilling best Human Resources practice can help you focus on running a successful business.

For more information on this, or any other workplace policy or program, contact our Human Resources Advisory team.