June 15, 2017
Residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lyndee Patterson is a lawyer on staff at Ceridian responsible for legislative compliance and for monitoring the provincial and federal legislative landscapes from an HCM perspective. She also represents Ceridian on the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council.
On May 30, 2017, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the province will increase the minimum wage from 11.60/hour (effective October 1, 2017):
These changes will make Ontario the second province (Alberta was the first) to publicly target a $15 minimum wage.
If you thought the announcements would end there, you were mistaken:
Premier Wynne’s minimum wage announcement came after the release of the Final Report on the Changing Workplaces Review, which put forward 173 recommendations about strengthening workplace safety, collective bargaining and wage fairness for part-time, casual, temporary, seasonal and contract employees.
It’s worth noting that none of the 173 recommendations suggested an increase to minimum wage.
On June 1, 2017, Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, was introduced. The move has caused some to question whether there has been adequate consideration given to the economic impact of all of the changes being proposed.
The following summarizes a few* of the proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act that will be of interest. With the exception of Scheduling, Bill 148 indicates the changes listed here, if passed, would be effective January 2018:
Although the government of Ontario has proposed a broad consultation process to gather feedback from a variety of stakeholders, the January 2018 effective date may challenge that intention.
As a result, businesses may be subject to some uncertainty around their 2018 obligations.
Preparing for these changes will require minimum wage updates and could require organizations to adjust their payroll set ups (vacation accruals), workforce policy rules (overtime, holidays and three-hour rule), and scheduling processes.
By starting an internal assessment now, businesses can confirm impacts in the context of their operations and work with their partners to understand how best to respond.
*Note: The focus of this list is on more traditional employment standards related changes. It is not inclusive. There are significantly more changes proposed in Bill 148 than are described here. For example, there are new penalties for misclassification of employees as contractors, measures to support equal pay for equal work as well as amendments directed at temporary help agency employees. A new leave is also being introduced and, as proposed, family medical leave would be increased from 8 weeks to up to 27 weeks.