Ontario’s Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, is now the law.

The bill significantly amends workplace laws, including the Employment Sandards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA), says McCarthy Tétrault’s Ontario Employer Advisor blog.

It states that some of the major changes include the following:

  • linking minimum wage increases to the consumer price index; the government would publish the new minimum wage arising from the formula by April 1 of each year;
  • eliminating the $10,000 cap on claims for unpaid wages;
  • replacing the six- and 12-month time limitation for claiming unpaid wages by a single two-year time limit for all wage claims;
  • requiring employers to provide the Ministry of Labour’s poster on the ESA to every employee;
  • allowing the Ministry of Labour to order employers to engage in a “self-audit” for the purposes of determining ESA compliance;
  • making temporary help agencies and employers who use such agencies jointly and severally liable for wage claims from temporary workers;
  • shifting the experience rating costs for WSIB purposes to the employer who uses temporary labour;aAlso, reporting obligations to the WSIB would apply to both the temporary agency and the client;
  • expanding the definition of “worker” under OHSA to apply to unpaid labour, like “interns” and certain school placement workers; and
  • reducing the “open period” during which a displacement or decertification application could be brought from three months to two months.

While not all of the provisions will not take effect immediately, the blog notes that “all employers should be aware of these significant new changes and alter their workplace policies and practices accordingly.”

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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