Ontario's new Bill 47 - what does it mean for employers?

Dec 19, 2018
min read

Wondering what the new Bill 47 is? No problem. Humi's got you covered. Here's what you need to know:

On November 21st, 2018, the Ontario Progressive Conservative government passed Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. Bill 47 repeals several major employment and labour laws introduced by the Liberal government in 2017 (Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act).

Some aspects of Bill 148 remain: extended parental and pregnancy leave, the right to three weeks of paid vacation after five consecutive years of employment, and domestic or sexual violence leave. With this being said, several changes will greatly impact Canadian businesses.

Bill 47 mainly affects the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA), 1995. Amendments to the ESA will come into effect on January 1st, 2019, while changes to the OLRA came into effect on November 21st, 2018.

The following highlights some of the key changes to the law:

Employment Standards Act (changes in effect January 1, 2019)

  1. Minimum Wage - Minimum wage will be frozen at $14/hour. It is subject to an annual inflation adjustment on October 1st of every year starting in 2020.
  2. Personal Emergency Leave - The amendment repeals the entitlement to Personal Emergency Leave (PEL). Personal Emergency Leave currently provides employees with ten days of leave annually (the first two of which are paid) for personal or family illness or other urgent matters. This leave substitutes it with three unpaid sick days, three unpaid family responsibility leave days, and two unpaid bereavement leave days.
  3. Employee Misclassification - Bill 47 will eliminate the reverse onus requirement on employers, introduced by Bill 148, to prove that independent contractors and other non-employees were not employees.
  4. Scheduling - If an employee who regularly works more than 3 hours per day works less than 3 hours, despite being able to work, the employer must pay wages equal to the employee’s regular rate for 3 hours or the amount the employee earned for time worked plus the wages equal to the remainder of the time.

Ontario Labour Relations Act (changes already in effect, as of November 21st)

  1. Card-based Certification - Card-based certification is no longer in effect for the building, home care, and community services industries. They are also not in effect for temporary help agencies.
  2. Fines - The maximum fines for offences under the LRA decrease to $2000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations. In other words, they become the pre-Bill 148 amounts.

For more information, check out Bill 47 along with the explanatory note here

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About the Author
Simon BourgeoisSimon Bourgeois

Simon is one of two CEOs at Humi. He spent years working at an investment bank throughout the last financial crisis before shifting to tech in 2012; a founder at OneLocal before co-founding Humi in 2016. Through both businesses, he has focused on everything from sales to finance, and spends his time trying to navigate changes and challenges like COVID-19 at Humi.

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