Ontario Government Proposes Making Ontario Open For Business Act

Just as employers and employees in Ontario have begun to settle in and adjust to the changes the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, better known as Bill 148, made to labour laws, the newly formed Progressive Conservative Party has said it will roll back some of those changes and freeze minimum wage to $14 an hour.

The Ontario government introduced its Making Ontario Open for Business Act on Oct. 23. If it is approved, the new act would repeal many of the amendments to the Employment Standard Act made by Bill 148.

In a statement released by the government this week, policymakers have said the proposed Making Ontario Open for Business Act would “remove the worst burdens” preventing Ontario businesses from creating jobs while expanding opportunities for workers.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the proposed Making Ontario Open for Business Act, and what changes would occur if it is passed, and becomes law.

  • The new act would freeze minimum wage at $14/hour on Jan. 1, 2019 for 33 months. Any previous minimum wage increases will not be rolled back. Starting in 2020, annual increases to the minimum wage will be tied to inflation.
  • A repeal of some of the recently introduced scheduling provisions, which were expected to come into force on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • A complete overhaul of the personal emergency leave provisions, including the removal of the prohibition on employers requiring medical certificates in support of an absence.
  • The new bill would scrap the 10-personal emergency leave days, two of which were paid, that was legislated by the previous government and will replace it with up to eight unpaid days. Three days will be set aside for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities.
  • Repeal of the equal pay for equal work provisions on the basis of employment status, maintaining the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.
  • The new bill would repeal the averaging public holiday pay formula put in place by Bill 148 and return to the previous prorating public holiday pay formula.

The amendments proposed by the Ontario government’s new bill will greatly impact the workplace. As experienced professionals with a strong knowledge of labour laws, we can help you navigate changing regulations and will keep you up-to-date on any changes.

Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to call us today.