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Ontario Erectors Association

In A Flash – First Round of Amendments to Bill 148 Does Not Address Many Employer Concerns

Issued August 25, 2017

First Round of Amendments to Bill 148 Does Not Address Many Employer Concerns

Ontario’s Bill 148, known colloquially as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, passed the first reading on June 1, 2017.The proposed Bill contains extensive amendments to both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”), as part of the Ontario Government’s efforts to revamp Ontario’s workplace laws.

As previously reported in our May 30th article Ontario Moves Quickly to Overhaul Workplace Laws, the ESA amendments proposed by Bill 148 include matters such as providing equal pay for part-time workers, increasing vacation entitlements and expanding personal emergency leave protections. One of the centerpieces and more controversial aspects of Bill 148 is the proposed increase in minimum wage from the current rate of $11.40/hour (increasing to $11.60 in October 2017) to $14/hour in January 2018, and eventually to $15/hour by January 2019.

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met this week to discuss proposed changes to Bill 148. Unfortunately for employers, the planned phase-in of a $15/hour minimum wage rate and other increased entitlements for employees remain intact. This article will discuss some of the more notable changes to the Bill made by the committee.

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If you have any questions regarding the impact of any of the proposed amendments to Ontario’s workplace laws, or steps you can take to reduce their impact, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.