Bill 148: Ontario’s Fair Workplaces & Better Jobs Plan

passed November 22, 2017

On November 22, 2018, the Ontario Government passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan.  Click here to visit for more information on the Plan.

OFFSETS At this time, the Ontario government has announced only two offsets to assist business in making the transition to the new minimum wage or any of the other changes.

  1. 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
  2. Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees will get an incentive of $1,000 to hire a young person aged 15 to 29 and another $1,000 if the company retains that worker for six months.

STEERING THROUGH CHANGE:  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce in partnership with MNP has developed a Toolkit, “Steering Through Change, A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148,” designed to help business understand the changes involved in this legislation and to offer strategies for moving forward.  Learn more and download yours here.

The Issue: 

On May 30th, the Ontario Government announced the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan which proposes numerous changes to current labour and employment standards legislation, including:

  • Raising Ontario’s general minimum wage from $11.40 to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
  • Mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies
  • Expanding personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers
  • Ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with a company
  • Updating employee scheduling rules, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.
  • Read the Government Release and Backgrounder for more information.

Your Chamber’s Position:

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce applauds the spirit and intent of the Plan and we recognize the importance of fair wages and working conditions, however we feel the Ontario government has not considered the unintended consequences the very short period of implementation will have for the most vulnerable employers.

What We’re Doing for You:  

Since the information was initially released at the end of May, we’ve been engaged with other members of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Keep Ontario Working Coalition to understand the unintended consequences of the Plan and provide the Ontario government with realistic projections.

How You Can Participate:

  • Contact us to be included on the issues list: you’ll receive emailed updates on our activities and invitations to events held as part of our efforts.
  • Speak out!  In order to be effective representatives on our behalf, our elected officials need to be made aware that these changes will have consequences for the businesses within their constituency.  Be in touch with your MPP (see the sidebar to the right for contact info!) to let them know how this will affect your business.  Be sure to CC us so we can include your feedback in future discussions.

“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

This is a Provincial Issue.
Our local Members of Provincial Parliament:

Thunder Bay – Atikokan
Bill Mauro, MPP

Thunder Bay – Superior North
Michael Gravelle, MPP

Active Advocacy Files

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce’ advocacy work is made possible with the generous support of our Cornerstone Members.