On October 23rd, the Government of Ontario announced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. The announcement included a near full repeal of Bill 148, dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades, and improvements to the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio.
What do these changes mean for business?
Minimum wage paused at $14 per hour
Partial repeal of scheduling provisions
Bill 148 allowed employees to refuse a shift scheduled less than 96 hours before its start and required employers to pay staff for a minimum of three hours of work in the case of a cancelled/reduced shift. The government will be repealing the 96-hour rule, while maintaining the 3-hour rule.
Removal of equal pay for equal work
Returning to previous calculation of public holiday pay
Return to previous union certification policies
Bill 148 extended card-based union certification to the temporary help agency industry, the building services sector, and home care and community services industry, removing the need for a secret ballot vote. In addition, Bill 148 forced employers to provide unions with access to employee lists and employee contact information where the union is able to demonstrate 20 percent employee support. It will return to the previous requirement to demonstrate at least 40 percent employee support.
Amended personal emergency leave
Under Bill 148, small businesses were required to provide a minimum of 10 personal emergency leave days per year (8 unpaid and 2 paid). This will be amended to require a total of 8 unpaid days within the following categories: 3 sick days, 2 bereavement days, and 3 family emergency leave days. To help promote accountability, employers may now once again ask employees for a sick note.
Maintain domestic or sexual violence leave
Bill 148 introduced a domestic or sexual violence leave provision, which gives employees the right to up to 10 days of individual leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the employee or their child experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat of such violence.
Maintain paid vacation expansion
The government will not be removing provisions that entitle employees to 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years with the same employer.
Apprenticeship ratios set at 1:1
10. Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades
The government has announced that it will be dissolving the Ontario College of Trades and uploading its responsibilities to the Ministry of Labour
“Yesterday’s announcement is welcome news for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. As Oakville’s business advocate, our position has been clear: Bill 148 was too much, too fast. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences came at too high a cost for Ontario’s economy and the businesses who employee Ontarians in Oakville and across our Province. The Oakville Chamber will continue to advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that the Government implements balanced policies that make it easier to invest, start, and grow a business as well as build an economy that connects workers to jobs” – Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce