186 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ontario L4Z 3G1 |
186 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 201, Mississauga,
Ontario, L4Z 3G1 | Directions

Summary of Bill 148: what Mississauga employers need to know

Bill 148 became law in Ontario in November 2017. It changes several existing statues, including the Employment Standards Act 2000. There are numerous changes. Not all of them will be easy to comply with. Many of them will change the way employers do business. All of them will enhance the protections given to employees. Below is a summary of some of the key changes that we see impacting our Mississauga ON clients.

Changes already in effect

As of November 27, 2017

  • Employers cannot require employees to wear high heeled or other elevated footwear unless it is required for safety reasons. Advertising and entertainment industries are exempt from this.
  • Employees cannot be misclassified as independent contractors. This is intended to prevent situations in which employees are denied employment standards protections, and instead, are treated as self-employed individuals.

Wages

As of January 1, 2018:

  • The general minimum wage increased to $14.00 per hour. It is scheduled to increase again on January 1, 2019 to $15.00 per hour.
  • Homeworkers, liquor servers, fishing and hunting guides, and students continue to have special minimum allowable wage rates. These rates will increase proportionately with the increasing general minimum wage.
  • Temporary help agencies are required to give employees one-week notice, equivalent pay, or opportunity for a reasonable replacement if an assignment that was scheduled to last more than three months is terminated prematurely.

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As of April 01, 2018:

  • Temporary, assignment (via temporary help agency), seasonal, casual, and part-time employees must be paid the same rate as permanent or full-time employees if the work that they perform is substantially the same, even if the tasks are not precisely identical.
  • Temporary, assignment (via temporary help agency), seasonal, casual, and part-time employees who believe they are not being paid the same rate as other employees may submit a request for the employer to review their wages. The employer must either adjust the employee’s rate of pay or provide a written explanation.
  • Employers and temporary help agencies are not required to provide equal pay for temporary, assignment (via temporary help agency), seasonal, casual, and part-time employees if the difference in wages is based on something other than employment status or sex. Typically, this exception applies to a merit or seniority-based pay scale.

As of January 1, 2019

  • The general minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour.
  • Homeworkers, liquor servers, fishing and hunting guides, and students continue to have special minimum allowable wage rates. These rates will increase proportionately with the increasing general minimum wage.
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Scheduling

As of January 1, 2018:

  • An employee who has been with the same employer for a minimum of five years shall be entitled to at least three weeks of paid vacation.
  • An individual who has been employed for at least one week is entitled to a minimum of ten personal leave days, at least two of which must be paid. This applies to all employers (previously those with fewer than 50 employees were exempt).
  • An individual who has been employed for at least 13 weeks is entitled to a minimum of 15 weeks and up to 10 individual days of leave if that person, or that person’s child, is subjected to or threatened with domestic or sexual violence. In each calendar year, the first five days of this leave shall be paid. Subsequent days need not be paid. As of January 1, 2019:
  • An employee who is given less than 96 hours of notice many refuse to work a shift without fear of retaliation. Exceptions are provided for situations in which the employee is called in for the reason of delivering essential public services, mitigating public safety threats, or handling an emergency.
  • After a minimum of three months of employment, a person may request a change of location or schedule, without fear of penalties.
  • An employee shall receive pay equivalent for at least three hours work if a regularly scheduled shift is cut short or canceled with less than 48 hours of notice. Exceptions are provided for shifts that are canceled due to natural disasters or similar circumstances beyond the employer’s control. Similarly, an exemption is provided if an employee’s job is weather-dependant, and the reason for cancelation is weather-related.
  • An employee will receive a minimum of three hours pay for each scheduled 24-hour period of being on call and available, even if the person is not called in during that period. Exceptions are provided for shifts that are canceled due to natural disasters or similar circumstances beyond the employer’s control.

Enforcement

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Enforcement has traditionally been a weakness in the employment standards regime. This weakness is set to be strengthened in significant and meaningful ways. Do not make the mistake ignoring these new changes as some employers did in the past. To ensure that the new regulations are followed, the government has announced plans to step up Employment Standards Act enforcement. Efforts include adding hundreds of employment standards officers, and resolving claims in 90 days or less. Additionally, employers will be inspected by the Ministry of Labour. At least one in ten workplaces in Ontario will be inspected every year. If you aren’t ready or aren’t sure what all the new regulations mean for your business, call GAB Law Firm at (365) 800-2090.

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