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

passed November 22, 2017

capture of @OntarioCofC tweet

January 19, 2018:  Open Letter to the Ontario Chamber Network re: Bill 148

from the desk of Rocco Rossi,  President & CEO
Ontario Chamber of Commerce

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) understands the significant impact that recent increases to the minimum wage and expansion of labour and employment standards are having on all businesses.  For months, we have forewarned that these reforms would have unintended consequences and now we are seeing them come to fruition as businesses take extra-ordinary actions.

Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted “I’m happy to talk to any business owner about the minimum wage.” We welcome this openness by the Premier, and we encourage all Ontario businesses to contact the Premier to discuss how the quick implementation of these reforms is harming their ability to do business in the province. Furthermore, we encourage businesses to also tell the Premier that further offsets must be extended in the 2018 provincial budget in order to deal with rising input
costs.  (read the entire letter here)


We encourage you to contact Premier Wynne at or 416-325-1941

Tools and Resources for Business

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.


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. 

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
  • 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


Watch the Webinar: 

Bill 148, Ontario’s New Labour Laws

The Issue: 

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, 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:  

After the information was initially released at the end of May, the Thunder Bay Chamber 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.

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.

“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.