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Bill 47 Repeals Ontario’s New Labour Laws under Bill 148

October 23, 2018, by HR à la carte | Work Environment and Policies

The new Ontario government has tabled legislation to repeal the majority of the labour reforms that were introduced by the previous government under Bill 148.  Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, passed First Reading on October 23, 2018.  Some highlights of the changes to the legislation as they relate to the Employment Standards Act are outlined below.  

Minimum Wage:  It will remain at $14.00 until October 2020 at which time it will be subject to an annual inflation adjustment.

Scheduling:  Most of the changes in scheduling rules which were originally intended to be effective Jan 1, 2019, will be repealed, with the exception of the 3 hour rule.  The largest benefit to employers is that they will no longer be required to provide a minimum of 96 hours notice of a shift to employees; Under Bill 148, a minimum of 96 hours had to be provided otherwise employees could refuse the shift with no repercussions. Nor will there be a requirement to pay a minimum of 3 hours' pay for employees who are "on-call".

Equal Pay for Equal Work:  The provision to provide equal pay to temporary and part-time staff as their full-time equivalents for performing equal jobs has also been repealed.

Personal Emergency Leave The original 10 personal emergency leave days (of which the first 2 were paid), are being replaced by 8 unpaid days broken out for specific reasons as follows:

  • 3 unpaid sick leave days per calendar year
  • 3 unpaid family responsibility leave days per calendar year (for family member’s illness or urgent matters regarding family members)
  • 2 unpaid bereavement days per calendar year

Medical Notes:  Employers will again be allowed to verify sick leave absences by requesting a doctor's note.

Vacation:  The Bill 148 provisions will be maintained, meaning that employees will continue to receive 3 weeks' vacation after 5 years' of continuous service.

Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave:  The Bill 148 provisions will be maintained of 10 individual leave days and up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave the first 5 days of which are paid.

Employee Misclassification:  In the event of a dispute as to whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the onus is no longer on the employer to prove that the individual is not an employee.

We will be keeping a close eye on the progress of this legislation.  Stay tuned for further updates!

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