Bill 148 – Summary of Changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act

- January 12, 2018

As contained in a brief provided by the Unifor Legal Department, please see the following summary of changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act with the recent passing of Bill 148.

Please contact the Local Union office should you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Minimum Wage

·   $14.00 per hour effective January 1, 2018

·   $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2019

Public Holidays – effective January 1, 2018

·   affects new and part-time employees

·   new formula used to calculate vacation pay based on the total regular wages earned in the pay period before the public holiday

·   divides the regular wages for the pay period by the number of days actually worked by the employee in that pay period so that the calculation closely replicates the employee’s earnings if the day had been a working day

·   new formula excludes vacation pay payable in the pay period

·   requires that if an employee is on vacation during the pay period immediately before the public holiday, another pay period is to be used

Vacation with Pay – effective January 1, 2018

·   vacation entitlement increased to three weeks vacation after five years of active or inactive employment

·   vacation pay entitlement is 6% after five years employment, based on the period for which the vacation is given

·   the employee will actually begin accruing the higher vacation entitlement after four years of employment

Equal Pay

·   equal pay for equal work when compared between women and men

·   differences can only exist if they are based on seniority, merit or piecework systems, or any factor other than sex

·   prohibits pay differences that are attributable only to a “difference in employment status”

·   employers are prohibited from reducing pay to comply with this new requirement

·   extended to a “difference in assignment employee status” i.e. temp agencies

·   part-time performing the same job as full-time are to be paid equally

·   If a collective agreement that is in effect on April 1, 2018 contains a provision that permits differences in pay based on employment status and there is a conflict between the provision of the collective agreement
and the changes above, the provision of the collective agreement prevails.

Scheduling – effective January 1, 2019

·   adds a right of an employee to request changed work hours or location after three months of employment

·   Three Hour Rule for Short Shifts – requires the payment of at least three hours of pay at the employee’s regular rate to employees who regularly work more than three hours but are sent home after less than three hours

·   On Call Rule – requires the payment of at least three hours of pay at the employee’s regular rate when an employee is on call and is either not called to work or is called to work in less than three hours

·   Right to Refuse Work – on a non-scheduled work day with less than 96 hours notice before the start of a shift creates a rule that schedules must be set at least four days (96 hours) in advance; gives an employee a right to refuse requests to work or to be on call when given less than 96 hours notice

·   Right to have 48 Hours Notice of a Cancelled Shift – requires the employer to pay at least three hours pay at the employee’s regular rate where notification is less than 48 hours; does not apply if the shift is lengthened or shortened

If a collective agreement that is in effect on April 1, 2018 contains a provision that permits differences in pay based on employment status and there is a conflict between the provision of the collective agreement and the changes above, the provision of the collective agreement prevails.

Personal Emergency Leave – effective January 18, 2018

·   entitlement to employees of ten unpaid days of personal emergency leave available to be used in the event of illnesses or emergencies of employees or their close family members

·   two of the ten personal emergency days are paid leave days

·   prevents employers from requiring a doctor’s note

·   not a general ban on employer’s requesting doctor’s notes for other purposes other than the personal emergency leave

Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave – effective January 1, 2018

·   available to employees after 13 weeks of employment

·   first five days of leave are paid, and the total leave can be up to 10 days and 15 weeks

·   this leave is available where an employee or child of the employee experiences or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence

·   the employee may be required to provide evidence that is “reasonable in the circumstances”

·   the employer must safeguard the confidentiality of its records of such leaves

Critical Illness Leave – effective December 3, 2017

·   a leave of up to 37 weeks (in a 52-week period) to care for a critically ill child who is a family member under 18 years of age

·   a leave of up to 17 weeks to provide care or support to a critically ill adult family member who is over the age of 18

·   “Critically Ill” means that the person’s life is at risk due to a decline in health caused by illness or injury

·   a medical practitioner must certify that the child is critically ill and requires the support of a family member

·   to be eligible for this leave, employees must be employed for at least 6 months

·   corresponds to the new Employment Insurance entitlement to Family Caregiver Benefits for Adults

Other ESA changes that may affect Collective Agreements

Misclassification of Employees – effective November 27, 2017

·  prohibits employers from treating employees as independent contractors

Pregnancy and Parental Leaves – effective December 3, 2017

·  entitlement to parental leave increases, by 26 weeks, from 35 weeks to 61 weeks for employees who take pregnancy leave, and from 37 to 63 weeks for employees who do not

·  employees are only entitled to this extended parental leave if the child is born or comes into their custody, care and control after December 3, 2017

Family Medical Leave – effective January 1, 2018

entitlement to family medical leave increases, by a total of 20 weeks, from 8 weeks to 28 weeks which can be taken over a maximum period of 52 weeks

Child Death Leave – effective January 1, 2018

an unpaid leave of up to two years in the event of the death for any reason of a child under the age of 18 years

Crime-related Child Disappearance Leave – effective January 1, 2018

an unpaid leave of up to two years in the event of a crime-related child disappearance