Highlights of Ontario’s labour law changes

On Wednesday, the Ontario legislature passed the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The highlights of the act include:

  • Requiring equal pay for casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees when performing substantially the same job for the same employer as full-time workers. The changes also include equal-pay provisions for employees of temporary help agencies. The provisions come into force on April 1, 2018.
  • The general minimum wage rises to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, up from the current rate of $11.60. A further increase at the start of 2019 will take the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • If an employer cancels a shift within 48 hours of its start, it must pay employees for three hours at their regular rate of pay. That and other new scheduling rules come into force on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • In the event of a dispute over an employee’s classification as an independent contractor, the employer would be responsible for proving the individual isn’t an employee.

Read: Parsing Canada’s patchwork of sick, emergency leave rules as Ontario passes new bill

  • Employees will get three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer.
  • Employees can take up to 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two paid days. The law bans employers from requiring an employee to provide a sick note from a qualified health practitioner when taking personal emergency leave.
  • For employees with at least 13 consecutive weeks of service, the new legislation provides up to 10 individual days and up to 15 weeks of protected leave when an employee or a child has experienced or is facing the threaten of domestic or sexual violence. The provisions include five days of paid leave and come into force on Jan. 1, 2018.
  • When it comes to enforcing the Employment Standards Act, the government intends to to increase the maximum administrative monetary penalties for non-compliant employers from $250, $500, and $1000 to $350, $700, and $1500, respectively.

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