Do recent changes to the Employment Standards Act impact your business?

On April 3rd, the Ontario government passed ‘Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019’. Schedule 9 of the Bill makes amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) that should be noted by employers:

Employment Standards Posters
As an employer, you are no longer required to display the Employment Standards in Ontario poster in your workplace, but you are still required to distribute it to any employee covered by the ESA within 30 days of their first day of employment. It’s recommended that this summary of key workplace rights be given to new employees as part of your orientation and onboarding process. The latest version of the poster can be found on the Ministry of Labour’s website at: https://files.ontario.ca/employment-standards-in-ontario.pdf.

Weekly Work Hours
Previously, an employee was only permitted to work more than 48 hours in a week if (a) the employee agreed to this and (b) the employer received an approval from the Ministry of Labour’s Director of Employment Standards. Schedule 9 of Bill 66 repeals the necessity for government approval. With the removal of this requirement, employers can now rely solely on a written agreement with an employee to work more than 48 hours per week.

Overtime Averaging
Another change to the Employment Standards Act concerns oversight for overtime averaging. Previously, the ESA required employers to pay overtime on any hours worked over 44 hours per week. This overtime was allowed to be averaged over two or more weeks if agreed to by both the employer and employee and approved by the Director of Employment Standards. Under Bill 66, employers no longer require government approval to average an employee’s hours for overtime pay, as long as the employee agrees and the averaging period does not exceed four weeks.

Bill 66 also contains changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and Pension Benefits Act, with specific impact on those working in the construction sector. For more information on Bill 66, please visit: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-66.

To discuss how these changes might impact your business, please contact our HR Specialist, Dinah Bailey at Dinah.Bailey@scpllp.com.