December 5, 2018

Ontario passes Bill 47 – what does this mean for employers?

Ontario has passed Bill 47, which repeals or changes several items from Bill 148. Here, the details of some key changes, which come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, from Ceridian Legal Counsel Lyndee Patterson.

Lyndee Patterson

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.

Bill 47 – Making Ontario Open for Business Act – was passed on Nov. 21, 2018. The bill repeals or changes several items from Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148), and amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA).  

Areas of amendment of interest to non-unionized employers include scheduling, paid personal emergency leave days, minimum wage and equal pay provisions.  The following comes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

What

Details

Minimum wage

  • Frozen at $14.00 per hour
  • Annual inflation adjustment on Oct. 1 starting in 2020

Call-in pay

Employers will be required to pay employees at their regular rate for three hours (rather than at minimum wage) if the employee (who regularly works more than three hours a day) works less than three hours and is available to work.

Personal Emergency Leave

Repealed: Expanded Personal Emergency Leave is replaced with unpaid sick leave, family responsibility leave, and bereavement leave (see following rows). Employers can request evidence that employees are entitled to leave, such as medical notes.

Sick leave

After two weeks employment, an employee’s entitlement to leave is limited to a total of three unpaid days in each calendar year.

Family responsibility leave

After two weeks employment, an employee’s entitlement to leave is limited to a total of three unpaid days in each calendar year.

Bereavement leave

After two weeks employment, an employee’s entitlement to leave is limited to a total of two unpaid days in each calendar year.

What does this mean for employers?

It’s recommended that employers review their on-call pay policies to ensure employees’ regular rate is used as the multiplier for less than three hours work (rather than minimum wage). 

In addition, if your leave-related policies were modified in 2018 to award two paid Personal Emergency Leave days, you may want to seek advice on your options and obligations going forward.  

Finally, given the potential for confusion over Ontario’s holiday pay calculations, it may be worth validating that, since July 1, 2018, your organization has been using the /20 divisor of the last four weeks of regular earnings (including vacation pay payable).

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should review with your legal advisors how the laws identified in this post may apply to your specific situation.

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