Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 – Bill 148
Friday, June 23rd, 2017
On June 1, 2017, the Government of Ontario introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which proposes significant amendments to Ontario’s employment and labour legislation.
While the unemployment date is at a 16-year low, the nature of work has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum wage-work. To help safeguard employees and create fairer and better workplaces, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs, 2017 would:
- Raise Ontario’s general minimum wage, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. If passed, the province’s minimum hourly wage rates would increase as follows:
|Category||Current Rate||Effective October 1, 2017||Effective January 1, 2018||Effective January 1, 2019|
- 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 permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies. Exceptions would be allowed for differences in pay based on seniority systems, merit systems, etc.
- Expand personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least 2 paid days per year for all workers. The personal emergency leave currently provides up to 10 days’ unpaid leave per year for employees of employers who employ at least 50 employees. This would be modified to remove the 50-employee threshold and grant personal emergency leave to all employees covered by the ESA. It will also prohibit employers from requiring an employee to provide a medical certificate to verify his/her request for personal leave.
- Bring Ontario’s vacation time into line with the national average by ensuring at least 3 weeks’ vacation (or 6% of wages) after 5 years of continuous employment with the same employer.
- Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for 3 hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time. In addition, new provisions would provide that an employee has the right to refuse an employer’s request to report for work or be on call if the request is made less than 96 hours (4 days) prior to the start of the propose shift or on-all period.
If Bill 148 is passed, the majority of the amendments to the ESA would come into force on January 1, 2018, except for the equal pay provisions and the scheduling provisions, which would come into force on April 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019, respectively.