Bill 148: The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

Bill 148 has made significant changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, and the Occupational Health & Safety Act of Ontario.

From November 27, 2017, Bill 148 introduced:

  • A new ban against the misclassification of employees – aimed particularly at those employees misclassified as independent contractors. The Bill places the onus on the employer to prove that an individual is in fact an independent contractor and not an employee.
  • The other change made effective at this time to the Occupational Health and Safety Act is a ban on elevated heels on footwear unless that type of footwear is required to perform work safely (with exemptions in certain industries).

Effective December 3rd, 2017:

  • An employee’s entitlement to parental leave increases from 35 weeks to 61 weeks for those who took pregnancy leave, and 37 weeks to 63 weeks for those who did not.
  • The Critically Ill Child Care Leave is replaced with the Critical Illness Leave for employees to provide care for a minor child or a critically-ill family member.

Effective January 1st, 2018:

  • Minimum wage increases to $14.00 per hour and will increase again to $15.00 per hour on January 1st, 2019.
  • Employees who have five or more years of service with their employer will be entitled to three week of vacation time and vacation pay of 6% of their regular wages.
  • If the employee has two jobs with two rates of pay for the same employer, overtime pay is calculated at one-half times the regular rate for the work that was performed during those overtime hours.
  • All employers no matter their size will now be required to provide 10 Personal Emergency Leave Days to their employees with the first two being paid.
  • Pregnancy Leave for employees who suffer a still-birth or miscarriage will be extended from six weeks to twelve weeks after the pregnancy loss occurs.
  • Family Medical Leave has been extended to up to 28 weeks in a 52-week period.
  • There are separate leaves for Crime-Related Child Disappearance and Child Death Leave.
  • Introduction of a new leave – Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave – for employees who experience, or whose child experiences, domestic or sexual violence.

Effective April 1st, 2018:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work which means that employers are required to pay the same rate to employees performing the same, or substantially the same work, whether they are temporary, permanent, part-time or full-time.

Effective January 1st, 2019:

  • Employees with at least three months of service are entitled to request a schedule or work location change without reprisal. Employers must discuss the request with the employee and provide a decision in writing.  They do not have to grant the request but will be required to provide reasons for the denial.
  • Other changes include the Three-Hour Rule, Minimum On-Call Payment, Right to Refuse a Shift, and Minimum Cancellation Pay. Stay tuned for our next blog on these Scheduling Provisions.

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