Bill 148: An Overview for Employers

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

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

To start, Bill 148 increased critical illness leave and made changes to parental leave. Following this, Ontario’s new labour laws raised the minimum wage, mandated equal pay for equal work, expanded personal emergency leave, and took greater action to enforce these laws. As an employer, it is important to know your rights and obligations.

Minimum Wage: Increase to $15.00

Ontario’s general minimum wage increased to $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2018. As of October 1, 2019, the minimum wage is set to stay the same.

What from Bill 148, is currently in effect?

Leaves of Absence: Parental and Family Medical Leave

Bill 148 expanded pregnancy, parental, and family medical leaves. Additional leave for those experiencing domestic or sexual violence is also covered.

Temporary Help Agencies: Termination of Assignment

Bill 148 requires employers to provide at least one week’s notice if a job scheduled to last over three months is terminated early.

Overtime Pay

Employers who have staff with more than one position, must pay overtime at the rate of the position they are working during the overtime period.

Vacation Entitlement and Pay

Employers must provide three weeks of paid vacation to employees of five years or more, with the same company.

Equal Pay for Equal Work: Casual, Part-Time, Temporary, and Seasonal

Bill 148 mandates equal pay for equal work. This means every employee must be paid equal to those who perform the same work, regardless of status differentiation. There are exceptions to this, where wage differences are based on seniority or merit system, in addition to a system where earnings are measured by quantity or quality of production. These requirements came into effect on April 1, 2018.

Employment Standards Enforcement

Ontario hired 175 more employment standards officers to ensure that employers are following 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 Bill 47 has repealed sections of the previous government’s Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The Act came into force on January 1, 2019. You can find more information on the new act here.

Advice on Bill 148

Do you feel uncertain about Bill 148? Call Employer Line at 1(833) 247-3650 to speak with our HR experts. We’re available to help business owners and support you with this transition to Ontario’s changing workplace laws.