Bill 148 – Fair Workplaces & Better Jobs Act Passes at Queen’s Park
November 23, 2017 | Mississauga, Ontario — Yesterday, the Provincial Legislature approved Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces & Better Jobs Act despite the loud objections of Ontario’s business community.
The Act will raise the minimum wage, ensure more fairness for part-time and contract workers, expand personal emergency leave and step up enforcement of employment.
It also will raise Ontario’s general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation;
Mandate equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies’ client companies;
Expand personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year for all employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week;
Ban employers from requiring a doctor’s sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave;
Provide up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job when a worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence, including paid leave for the first five days;
Bring Ontario’s vacation time in line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer;
Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time;
The government is also expanding family leaves and adding measures to ensure that employees are not misclassified as independent contractors, ensuring they get the benefits and protections they deserve.
To enforce these changes, the province is hiring up to 175 more employment standards officers and is launching a program to educate both employees and businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
“This is the most significant overhaul of labour legislation in Ontario in decades. Unfortunately the government never did an economic impact study of these changes and did not heed advice from the business community to slow down the pace of these reforms,” said David Wojcik, President & CEO, Mississauga Board of Trade.
“We are very concerned about the impact of these changes particularly on very small, independent businesses just trying to run a business and earn a living,” Mr. Wojcik concluded.