Major Reform to Ontario Employment Standards Proposed in Bill 47

October 24, 2018

Yesterday, the much-anticipated Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47) was announced by Hon. Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Hon. Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour, and Hon. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

In keeping with Premier Doug Ford’s campaign platform, Bill 47 proposes a number of amendments to the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) that will repeal certain provisions. Among the most significant changes for Ontario workplaces are the following:

  • Minimum Wage. The minimum wage will remain frozen at $14 per hour until 2020. Thereafter, minimum wage increases will be tied to inflation.
  • Scheduling. Changes that are currently set to take effect on January 1, 2019 (such as employees’ ability to refuse requests to work or be on-call with less than 96 hours’ notice) will be repealed.
  • Personal Emergency Leave. The two paid days and eight unpaid days of leave due to illness, injury, death and certain emergencies and urgent matters provided for under Bill 148 will be repealed and replaced with three unpaid sick days, two unpaid bereavement days, and three unpaid days for family responsibilities.
  • Equal Work for Equal Pay. The prohibition of unequal pay on the basis of employment status and assignment employee status will be removed.

Several notable provisions of Bill 148 will not be affected, including the right to three weeks of vacation after five years of service. A complete listing of the changes proposed by Bill 47 is available on the Ontario government’s Newsroom.

While Bill 47 was carried on division at its First Reading on October 23, 2018, it still has a long way to go before becoming law. Since some of the affected provisions (such as the scheduled increase in minimum wage) are set to take effect in the New Year, we are confident that several updates will surface before the end of 2018.

We will provide updates on the status of Bill 47 frequently as its impact will result in significant scheduling, payroll and compliance changes in the workplace if passed into law.

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