PT_Bill47

As we previously advised, on October 23, 2018, the Ontario government tabled Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. The government’s aim with Bill 47 was to repeal many of the amendments made in November 2017 to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”) by Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

On November 21, 2018, Bill 47 became law. Bill 47 has been passed with only very minor changes to the bill as it was originally tabled, which we wrote about last month on our blog. The only changes from the original version of the bill as analyzed in our previous blog post were minor changes to its LRA-related provisions. As such, Bill 47 will make the following amendments, among others, with the amendments to the ESA coming into force on January 1, 2019, and the amendments to the LRA immediately in force on November 21, 2018:

  • ESA
    • Repealing the anticipated increase of minimum wage from $14 per hour to $15 per hour
    • Repealing the anticipated scheduling provisions slated to come into force on January 1, 2019
    • Repealing the entitlement to two paid and eight unpaid PEL days, and replacing it with new unpaid leaves for personal illness, bereavement, and family responsibilities
    • Maintaining the formula for public holiday pay that was in effect before Bill 148
    • Repealing the prohibition on employers requesting a doctor’s note as evidence of the need for time off due to personal illness
    • Repealing the requirement for an organization to prove that an individual is not an employee where there is a dispute over employee status;
    • Repealing the provisions respecting equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status
  • LRA
    • Repealing the requirement for employers to provide employee lists to unions in certain circumstances
    • Repealing remedial certification as an automatic remedy
    • Repealing card-based certification for industries other than the construction industry

For further details on the Bill 148 changes to the ESA that Bill 47 will roll back, see our previous blog post. Williams HR Law’s Laura Williams and Joel Smith also hosted a free webinar on the implications for employers of the proposed changes to and repeal of many of the Bill 148 amendments to the ESA and LRA by Bill 47. Though the webinar was hosted prior to the minor changes made to Bill 47’s amendments to the LRA, all of the amendments discussed during the webinar remain in the final version of Bill 47 that has now become law. Visit our website for a link to view a playback of the webinar.

Many employers revised policies, procedures, and employee entitlements in the wake of Bill 148. Now that Bill 47 has become law and will roll back many of the Bill 148 amendments, employers should consider further policy revisions and strategize how to communicate them to their employees. Employers should, in particular, consider whether revisions will now be necessary to policies governing any of the following entitlements and/or procedures:

  • Vacation
  • Attendance
  • Scheduling
  • Employee classification
  • Compensation
  • Seniority
  • Hours of work
  • On call scheduling
  • Lieu time and banked hours
  • Overtime
  • Bereavement leave
  • Job-protected leaves
  • Time off work due to illness or injury, including sick/personal days and medical notes to justify time off work
  • Workplace accommodation
  • Public holiday pay

As always, we are happy to assist you in understanding your compliance obligations, revising your policies, and strategically communicating changes that will be implemented within your workplace or why you may be maintaining certain entitlements that are greater than the rights or benefits that are required by statute. If you have any questions about the new proposed legislative requirements and/or how to strategically meet your compliance obligations, please feel free to contact any of our lawyers.

This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.

This information is not intended as legal advice.