Ontario Government introduces Bill 47 to repeal most of Bill 148

Monday, October 29, 2018

On Oct. 23, 2018, the Ontario government introduced the Making Ontario Open For Business Act, 2018 – Bill 47. The legislation would repeal significant amendments made in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act – Bill 148 – passed by the previous Liberal government.

Here are the major changes being proposed:

Minimum wage
The minimum wage is no longer rising to $15 on Jan.1, 2019. It will remain at $14.

The new bill cancels a range of scheduling protections that were part of Bill 148 and were scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2019 such as on-call pay, the right to refuse shifts with less than 96 hour’s notice, and the cancellation pay if a shift or on-call shift is canceled within 48 hours before it was set to begin.

Removal of Equal pay for equal work
Employees would no longer be entitled to equal pay on the on the basis of a difference in employment status.

Personal emergency leave
The Progressive Conservatives plan to bring back the medical note requirement for employees. Annual leave days for at least two consecutive weeks, comprised of up to three days of personal illness, two days for bereavement and three days for family responsibilities. 

Public holiday pay
Return to prior prorating public holiday pay formula.

Paid vacation
Eliminating two paid sick days for workers.

Bill 47 also proposes to roll back some of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA) amendments in Bill 148. Here are some of the changes being proposed:

  • Card-based certification would no longer be in effect in the building services industry, the home care and community services industry or for temporary help agencies;
  • repealing the rules that forced an employer to hand over their employees’ personal information to a union, even if only 20 per cent of the workers showed interest in joining a union;
  • Returning to the six-month limitation on an employee’s right to reinstatement following the start of a strike or lock-out.

The following changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) that were introduced under Bill 148 will remain intact:

  • Previous minimum wage increases;
  • Paid leave entitlements in the case of domestic or sexual violence;
  • Three hours’ pay in the event of cancellation of a scheduled shift or an on-call shift within 48 hours before the shift was to begin; and
  • Three weeks’ vacation time and six per cent vacation pay, for employees with a period of employment of five years.

The timeline for Bill 47 to come into effect is not yet known but it’s expected to pass before Jan. 1, 2018.

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