Bill 148: Ontario’s Fair Workplaces & Better Jobs Planpassed November 22, 2017
Update: October 23, 2018
On October 23, 2018, the Government of Ontario’s 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.
The Chamber position on Bill 148 has always been that its reforms demanded too much, too fast. The unintended consequences of compounding labour reforms came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.
What do these changes mean for Ontario business?
- Minimum wage paused at $14 per hour.
- Partial repeal of scheduling provisions.
- Removal of equal pay for equal work based on employment status. Maintains the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.
- Returning to previous calculation of public holiday pay.
- Return to previous union certification policies.
- Amended personal emergency leave.
- Maintain domestic or sexual violence leave.
- Maintain paid vacation expansion.
- Apprenticeship ratios set at 1:1.
- Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades.
On May 30th, 2017, the Ontario Government announced the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan which proposed numerous changes to current labour and employment standards legislation. Despite strong feedback from businesses across the province and the collective advocacy work of local Chambers of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber, the Ontario Government passed Bill 148 on November 22, 2018.
Starting January 1, 2018, the new general minimum wage of $14/hr is in effect in the province of Ontario.
As part of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, the minimum wage will increase again to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019, to be followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.
Other provisions of the new provincial legislation that come into effect on January 1, 2018, include:
- Ensuring workers are entitled to at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer, bringing Ontario’s vacation time in line with the national average.
- Expanding the 10 days per calendar year for personal emergency leave to employees in workplaces with fewer than 50 employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week
- A new domestic or sexual violence leave of up to 10 individual days and up to 15 weeks of job protected leave; the first five days of leave in every calendar year would be paid
- Increased family medical leave from 8 to 28 weeks per year
- A new child death leave from any cause up to 104 weeks, and increased crime-related disappearance of a child leave from 52 to 104 weeks, and
- Changes to make forming a union and reaching a first collective agreement easier
Below you’ll find resources to help you understand the changes which have been implemented as well as how to adapt your business practices to comply with Ontario’s new regulations.
Resources Related to Bill 148 - Ontario’s Fair Workplaces & Better Jobs Plan
Understanding and Adopting the New Standards:
- Ontario Ministry of Labour's Comprehensive FAQ
- Ontario Ministry of Labour: Details of Bill 148
- HR Best Practices: Resources from “Shining the Light on Bill 148” Info Session held February 13
- Bill 148 FAQ and Fact Sheet (Special thanks to Weiler, Maloney, Nelson for sharing this valuable information)
- December 7, 2017: Webinar on Bill 148 - Steering Through Change
- October 24, 2017: Steering Through Change Handbook
- July 4, 2017 Info Session with Warren Mouck of Cheadles LLP (FB Live video)
Offsets are designed to assist business in making the transition to the new minimum wage or any of the other changes.
- Ontario will cut its corporate tax rate on the first $500,000 of profits to 3.5 per cent effective Jan. 1, down from the current level of 4.5 per cent, and
The Employing Young Talent Incentive helps young people find jobs by offering:
- Small businesses with less than 100 employees, an initial $1,000 incentive upon hiring and an additional $1,000 retention incentive after six months for each youth hired through Employment Service.
- Business owners of any size an initial $1,000 incentive after three months of hiring, followed by an additional $1,000 retention incentive after six months, for hiring youth who face barriers to employment through the Youth Job Connection program.
Effects of the Changes:
- May 14, 2018 - Financial Post: Minimum wage hike comes at a steep cost. 'We cannot afford to hire them and survive'
- April 4, 2018 - Study - Thunder Bay Ventures: Insights from Thunder Bay's Perspective
- February 9, 2018 – Financial Post: Canada just lost the most jobs in nine years, with biggest drop on record in part-time work. 88,000 jobs gone — economists had been expecting gain of 10,000
- Jan 03, 2018 - CBC.ca: Minimum wage hikes could cost Canada's economy 60,000 jobs by 2019
- December 2017: Bank of Canada Staff Analytical Note: The Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases on the Canadian Economy
- November 22, 2017 – Financial Post: Metro plans to scale back store hours, extend e-commerce service in Ontario. Metro has said it expects to incur $45-$50 million in extra costs in 2018 from the minimum wage hike in Ontario…
- November 16, 2017 – tbnewswatch.com: Boys and Girls Club create poker run to offset minimum-wage hike. Albert Aiello says increasing Ontario’s minimum wage to $14-an-hour will cost the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay in the neighourhood of $50,000 a year.
- September 27, 2017: Report: The Flip Side of Fair
- September 27, 2017: Final economic analysis by CANCEA
- August 14, 2017 Report Methodology
- August 14, 2017 Economic analysis report, “Measuring the Potential Economic Impacts of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017: A risk assessment for Ontarians”
- July 10, 2017 Thunder Bay Chamber’s Presentation to Standing Committee on Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs (FB Live video)
- June 17, 2017 Our letter to MPPs Hon. Michael Gravelle and Hon. Bill Mauro
- May 30, 2017 ON Government Announcement, ON Government Backgrounder
“We had planned to renovate and expand our business but I’m afraid these cost increases may result in delays or outright cancellation of those plans.”- Local grocer
“I am very concerned about the future of my business under these higher costs.”- Local autobody shop
“My product prices are set by the clothing manufacturer; profit margins are slim and I worry about where the money is coming from to keep my business in operation.”- Local clothing retailer
Watch the Webinar: