On January 1, 2019 Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 will be coming into effect. Bill 47 does repeal many Bill 148 Reforms. Some major requirements to be noted:

  • Removal of Personal Emergency Leaves which are to be replaced with a two-day unpaid Bereavement Leave, a three-day unpaid Sick Leave, and a three-day unpaid Family Responsibility Leave;
  • Employers are entitled to ask for reasonable evidence that the employee is entitled to the leave; and
  • The minimum wage rate will be frozen at $14.00/hour at least until October 1, 2020 when annual inflationary adjustments commence.

Bill 47 preserves some of the Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017) amendments such as:

  • the right to three weeks paid vacation annually after a consecutive five years of employment within the organization;
  • the introduction of domestic or sexual violence leave; and
  • stretched parental/pregnancy leave.

Within Bill 148 there were many changes planned to take effect on January 1st, 2019 regarding scheduling rules that have been repealed. These included:

  • employees right to request changes to schedule or work location (after employment of at least three months); and
  • the right to refuse requests or demands to work or to be on-call on a day they are not scheduled to work or to be on-call with less than a 96 hours’ notice.

The one scheduling rule of Bill 47 that was preserved is:

  • the “three-hour rule” which states employers must pay an employee who showed up for work a minimum of three hours worth of wages even if they were not required to stay that long.

This Act carries changes that affect many different aspects including the Pay Transparency Act, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, and the Labour Relations Act. Some of the new requirements include:

  • Employers being banned from questioning job candidates about past income, and all public job postings (including online) will require a salary range stated.
  • Standardizing requests for police checks—there are now three types of police checks that can be conducted: a criminal record check, a criminal record and judicial matters check, and a vulnerable sector check. A major aspect that is coming with the new legislation regarding police checks is that the individual must consent before going through with the check, and they receive the results to view before the employer sees them.
  • If there is ever an argument or dispute on whether an individual is misclassified as an independent contractor, it is no longer the employer’s responsibility to prove the individual is not an employee. The individual who claims to be an employee to the employer will now have the responsibility to prove his/her status.

The passing of Bill 47 includes new penalties for disobeying the records keeping and posting requirements of the Employment Standards Act, 2000. On January 1st, 2019 a fine of:

  • $350 for a first-time offence will be decreased to $250;
  • $700 for a second offence within a three-year period will be decreased to $500; and
  • $1,500 for a third (or subsequent) offence within a three year period will be decreased to $1,000.

As of right now under the Labour Relations Act, maximum fines for offences are:

  • $100,000 for organizations and $5,000 for individuals being decreased to $25,000 for organizations and $2,000 for individuals

Amanda Johnston

Caerus HR Consulting Inc.
Ramona Packham