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

passed 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?

  1. Minimum wage paused at $14 per hour.
  2. Partial repeal of scheduling provisions.
  3. Removal of equal pay for equal work based on employment status.  Maintains the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.
  4. Returning to previous calculation of public holiday pay.
  5. Return to previous union certification policies.
  6. Amended personal emergency leave.
  7. Maintain domestic or sexual violence leave.
  8. Maintain paid vacation expansion.
  9. Apprenticeship ratios set at 1:1.
  10. Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades.

 

Background

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
  • 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:

Offsets:

Offsets are designed 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. 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:

Advocacy Work:

“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

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