Tag: Employment Standards Act
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
Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth
The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs and economic hardship.
The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario.
As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore.
Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.
OCC AND KEEP ONTARIO WORKING STATEMENT
The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:
We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.
“Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.
“That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies.
“Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’
“While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario.
“But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”
Changes would discourage investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.
The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is high and putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has experienced slower growth in GDP and job creation than in the past, and drastic reforms to labour and employment run the risk of causing serious damage to the future prosperity of the province.
“These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in Oakville” said Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We need to get the message out that the proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario, thereby discouraging investment and diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario.”
On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life.
“We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change’s sake.”
The Ontario Chamber’s letter reminds the Premier that Ontario’s employer community is doing its part to create a better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above- average wage for their respective industries.
The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The Ontario Chamber believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy can also help enhance quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments.
Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force is counterproductive.
Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s letter to Premier Wynne.
For more information on how the proposed reforms could affect Ontario’s economy, see the Ontario Chamber’s Rapid Policy Update.
The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre on Friday, December 16.
“We are very pleased to host the Labour Minister” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “We invite guest speakers, like Minister Flynn, to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with important elected officials. This is a crucial time for us to host the Labour Minister to discuss the Changing Workplaces Review and the changes the Province is considering to the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.”
“Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is currently undertaking a review of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act through its Changing Workplaces Review. The Review has been tasked with examining key workplace trends, including the increase in non-standard working relationships such as temporary jobs, involuntary part-time work, and self-employment.” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “We are presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Labour Minister, ask questions and provide their feedback on the proposed changes.”
Minister Flynn will be speaking on the Changing Workplaces Review, followed by an engaging Q&A Forum.
Date: Friday, December 16, 2016
Time: 7:30am – 9:00am; Minister Flynn speaks at 8:00am
Location: Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Road, Oakville, ON L6J 3J3
Tickets: $25 for Members, $45 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 are available. (All prices are subject to HST.)
To register: Register online through the Event Calendar or contact the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613.
The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour
The Hon. Kevin Flynn was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as MPP for Oakville. He was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014, making his the longest serving MPP in the Oakville riding. Minister Flynn has been Ontario’s Minister of Labour since March 2014 and is a member of Treasury Board. Having been Chair of the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions prior to being named minister, he has made health and safety in the workplace a major component of his mandate. He has also extended workplace protections, pushed for more fairness for vulnerable workers, promoted health and safety action plans and training, increased workplace inspections, and improved the minimum wage by tying it to the rate of inflation