The Ontario government is quickly moving Bill 148 through the provincial legislature.
Some Proposed Changes to the ESA
Bill 148 proposes changes to the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) including a $ 15 minimum wage by January 1, 2019, an additional week vacation after 5 years of service, and two paid personal emergency leave days for absences caused by, among other things, illness and bereavement. In addition, if Bill 148 becomes law an employer would no longer have the right to ask an employee to provide a medical note to verify an illness.
When Proposed Changes Expected to Take Effect
It is anticipated that public consultations will be completed by September 11, 2017 when the legislature resumes. Bill 148 could be passed shortly thereafter and if so many of the changes to the ESA could take effect on January 1, 2018.
Bill 148 is Just One of many Changes to Ontario’s Employment Laws
Ontario’s employment laws are constantly changing and Bill 148 is just one example. In recent years, the government has also introduced mandatory employee training, mandatory written policies, mandatory postings, and mandatory workplace harassment investigations.
Compliance rates are low for these new laws and the Ontario government recently announced it intends to hire 175 additional workplace inspectors to inspect 10% of Ontario workplaces each year. Bill 148 proposes increased fines for non-compliance with the ESA.
Many small and medium size employers have a hard time keeping up with these new employment laws.
In October 2017, the MacLeod Law Firm is holding seminars in Toronto & Barrie which will discuss three important developments in Ontario’s employment laws. One of the topics we will address are the new obligations imposed on employers under Ontario’s employment laws including the likely changes to the ESA as a result of Bill 148 and what to do when a Ministry of Labour inspector comes calling.
For more information on these seminars click here.