Bill 148: An Overview for Employers

In November 2017, Ontario passed Bill 148. Also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017the legislation made major changes to the:

  • Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA);
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA); and
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Bill 148 made the following changes to Ontario’s employment law:

  • Introduced a critical illness leave to care for a critically ill adult
  • Increased parental leave
  • Raised the minimum wage
  • Mandated equal pay for equal work regardless of employment status
  • Enhanced personal emergency leave
  • Enhanced enforcement measures

As an employer, it is important to know your rights and obligations.

What is currently in effect from Bill 148?

Leaves of Absence: Parental and Family Medical Leave

Bill 148 expanded parental, critical illness, family medical, and death of a child / crime-related disappearance leaves. It also introduced domestic or sexual violence leave.

Temporary Help Agencies: Termination of Assignment

Bill 148 requires temporary help agencies to provide an assignment employee with at least one week’s notice if a job scheduled to last over three months is terminated early.

Vacation Entitlement and Pay

Employers must provide three weeks of paid vacation and 6% of gross annual wages to employees after five years of employment.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Bill 148 mandated equal pay for equal work for all employment statuses. This means every employee must be paid equal to those who perform the same work, regardless of status differentiation (casual, full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal).

Exceptions to this are:

  • Where wage differences are based on seniority or a merit system.
  • Systems where earnings are measured by quantity or quality of production.

These requirements came into effect on April 1st, 2018.

Employment Standards Enforcement

Ontario hired 175 additional Employment Standards Officers to ensure that employers are complying with the new rules and regulations. There has been a focus on employers who compete unfairly by breaking the law.

Latest Changes: Bill 47

On November 21, 2018, the Ontario Provincial Government passed Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. Bill 47 repealed sections of Bill 148. Bill 47 came into force on January 1, 2019. You can find more information on currently application legislation here.

Advice on Bill 148

Are you uncertain about how Bill 148 and Bill 47 affect your small business? Call Employer Line at 1-888-219-8767 to speak with our HR experts. We’re available to help business owners and support you with this transition with Ontario’s changing workplace laws.