Ontario’s Changing Workplace: New Labour Law Rules and Regulations

Are you a business owner looking for help to understand the new legislation that Ontario just passed? Do you know what steps to take to ensure that you meet your obligations as an employer?

In November 2018, the Ontario Provincial Government passed Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. This Bill repeals sections of the previous government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 (known as Bill 148). The Act came into effect on January 1, 2019. This change greatly impacts how businesses operate in relation, but not limited to:

  • Minimum wage
  • Scheduling
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Personal emergency leave
  • Misclassification
  • Public holiday pay
  • Enhancing employment standards enforcement

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, it is important that you’re complying with the new legislation.

There are three major areas of focus where Ontario has made changes to the labour law rules.

1. Minimum Wage

Ontario is keeping the minimum wage at $14. As well, the minimum wage will remain at this level until 2020, after which it will be linked to inflation.

2. Employment Standards Act

In addition, Ontario is in the process of changing the minimum employment standards by enforcing greater employer obligations. The changes cover:

  • Equal pay for equal work for casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees, as well as temporary help agency workers
  • Scheduling
  • Overtime entitlement and pay
  • Vacation entitlement and pay
  • Personal emergency leave entitlement and pay
  • Public holiday pay
  • Domestic or sexual violence leave
  • Pregnancy leave
  • Critical illness leave
  • Family medical leave
  • Death of a child or for crime-related disappearance leave
  • Parental leave
  • Orders to pay employees directly
  • Employee contact
  • Employee misclassification
  • Joint liability of related employers
  • Penalties for non-compliance of the ESA
  • Unpaid wage interest
  • Collections
  • Electronic agreements

3. Labour Relations Act

Ontario is changing the labour laws to strengthen workers’ rights. The changes address:

  • Union certification
  • Successor rights
  • Bargaining units structuring
  • Return-to-work rights and procedures
  • Just cause protection
  • Increased fines

In addition to the three focuses of change, the Government of Ontario has passed new regulations for the Occupational Health and Safety Act, specific to safe footwear on the job.

Are you compliant? Get 24/7 HR support for your business.

Did you know? The province has hired 175 additional employment standards officers to ensure that employers comply with the new legislation changes. With this, the fines are increasing substantially, from $25,000 up to $100,000 for organizations.

Call Employer Line for free HR advice. If you have questions about Ontario’s new labour laws, we can help you – 1(833) 247-3650.