Bill 47: Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018
The Ontario Provincial Government passed Bill 47: Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. This Bill will repeal sections of Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 which impacted several industries through labour law changes and increased operational costs. There are also a few key changes that may affect individuals in the resource-based tourism industry. A summary of these changes is listed below.
The coming into force dates of Bill 47 are the following:
- Employment Standards Act, 2000: In Force January 1st or upon Royal Assent
- Labour Relations Act, 1995: In force upon Royal Assent
Summary of Key Changes
Employment Standards Act, 2000
Locations and Scheduling:
As of January 1st, 2019, the three-hour rule imposes a minimum three hours’ pay for short shifts under certain circumstances. This provision is not changed under Bill 47 but renumbered from 21.3 to 21.2 due to the repeal of other sections.
Employees will no longer be able to submit a request to the employer for changes to their schedule or work location.
Employees who receive different wages for different work will have overtime pay calculated based on the actual work performed during the overtime hours, rather than the average of different wages.
Under Bill 148, minimum wage would be $15 per hour as of January 1st, 2019. Bill 47 will keep minimum wage at $14 per hour until October 1st, 2020, where it will be adjusted annually by rate of inflation.
Liquor servers may only be paid the liquor server minimum wage if they regularly receive tips or gratuities; otherwise they must be paid the general minimum wage.
Bill 47 will not change the provision that states that employees who have worked for the same employer for five years are entitled to at least three weeks’ paid vacation after each completed entitlement year.
Equal Pay for Equal Work:
As of April 1st, 2018, pay discrimination based on employment status was prohibited under Bill 148. Bill 47 repealed this provision, allowing employers to pay different wage rates based on employment status such as part-time vs full-time.
Under Bill 148, public holiday pay is based on the wages earned in the preceding pay period divided by the number of days worked in that period. Bill 47 will return to the calculation used prior to Bill 148. Public holiday pay will be based on the total amount of regular wages and vacation pay earned in the four weeks before the work week with the public holiday, divided by 20.
Bill 47 will keep the provision that made changes to the written notice employers must provide when substituting a public holiday. These changes apply under various circumstances outlined in the Act.
Personal Emergency Leave:
Bill 148 made personal emergency leave available to all employees, with two of the 10 days being paid. This also stopped employers from requiring doctor’s notes. Bill 47 repealed this provision and replaced it with new categories: Sick Leave, Family Responsibility Leave and Bereavement Leave.
Employees are entitled to three unpaid sick leave days, three unpaid family responsibility leave days, and two unpaid bereavement leave days. These new categories of leave have different criteria for use, and the employer may ask for proof of entitlement to leave (e.g. doctor’s note for sick leave).
Employees must have been employed with the employer for two weeks to be entitled to these leaves.
Contractor and Employee Distinctions:
Under Bill 148, employers have burden of proof to establish that an individual is not an employee. Bill 47 changed the provision so that burden of proof that a person is not an employee no longer lies with the employer, however the employer obligation to properly classify employees will remain.
Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA)
Penalties and Fines:
The Government will reduce the maximum fines for offences under the Labour Relations Act from $5,000 to $2,000 for individuals, and from $100,000 to $25,000 for organizations.