On October 23, 2018 the PC government under Premier Ford’s leadership announced it is introducing new legislation, “Making Ontario Open for Business Act” (Bill 47), repealing significant sections of the former Premier Wynne government’s “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148). Bill 47, which passed First Reading on October 23, 2018, if enacted in its current form, will amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA); the Labour Relations Act (LRA); and make changes to the Apprenticeship system.
A Ministry of Labour news release provides a summary of the changes that would take effect should the legislation pass. Key highlights are listed below:
Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) including:
- Minimum Wage to remain at $14 per hour with annual increases to be tied to inflation beginning in 2020.
- Repealing several scheduling provisions including:
- Right to request changes to schedule or work location
- Right to minimum of three hours’ pay when on call and not called in
- Changes to Personal Emergency Leave including:
- Repealing the 10 day provision for PEL (including the 2 paid days) and replacing it with up to three days (unpaid) for personal illness, three days (unpaid) for family responsibilities, and two days (unpaid) for bereavement leave
- Returning to giving employers the right to require evidence of entitlement to the above leave (i.e. a doctor’s note)
- Repealing Equal Pay for Equal Work based on employment status
Changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA)
- Repealing rules that required an employer to provide a union with employee lists
- Returning to pre-Bill 148 test and preconditions for the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to certify a union related to employer misconduct
- Repealing rules related to card-based certification in certain industries and returning to the right to vote through secret ballot
- Additional changes are proposed in relation to:
- Return to Work Rights after a strike or lockout;
- Provisions for First Collective Agreement Mediation and Mediation-Arbitration
Changes to the current Apprenticeship system, as well as the dissolution of the College of Trades are also proposed with details in this news release from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.