Making Ontario Open for Business Act

Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2018 Bill 47 Provincial
In Force
OHS Impact
Bill 47 makes many proposed changes to various pieces of legislation governing employment and labour relations in Ontario, principally the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995. Employment Standards Act, 2000 Changes under Bill 47 come into force on January 1, 2019.
Labour Relations Act  Changes under Bill 47 are in force as of November 21, 2018.
Bill 47 makes the following changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA):
  • Minimum Wage: Minimum wage to remain at $14.00/hour, at least until October 2020. Further increases in minimum wage to start October 2020, and will be tied to inflation.
  • Scheduling: the new scheduling provision in Bill 148 will be repealed.
  • Personal Emergency Leave: The current right to receive 10 PEL days will be reduced to 8 unpaid annual leave days, 3 unpaid days for personal illness, 2 unpaid bereavement leave days, and 3 unpaid days for family responsibilities.
  • Medical Notes: Employers will be allowed to request a medical note from a qualified health practitioner to support an employee’s absence.
  • Vacation: The current vacation entitlement provisions will remain.
  • Domestic and Sexual Violence Leave: The current paid leave provisions dealing with domestic and sexual violence will be retained.
  • Public Holiday Pay: The averaging public holiday pay formula prescribed by Bill 148 will be repealed.
  • Misclassification: If there is a dispute over whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor, the bill eliminates the reverse onus on the employer to prove that an individual is not an employee.
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work: Certain aspects of the Equal Pay for Equal Work provision imposed by Bill 148 will be repealed, thereby permitting employers to differentiate pay on the basis of employment status  (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status). The requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex will remain.
  • Penalties for Contravention: The government will be returning to the previous administrative penalties for violations of the Employment Standards Act (ESA). This means that the maximum penalties will decrease from $350/$700/$1500 to $250/$500/$1000, respectively
Bill 47 makes the following changes to the Labour Relations Act:
  • Card-based Certification:  Card-based certification on workers in home care, building services, and temporary help agencies will be repealed, giving workers the right to vote through a secret ballot.
  • Employee Lists:  Rules requiring an employer to hand over their employees’ personal information to a union will be repealed.
  • Remedial Certification: The proposed Act will reinstate the pre-Bill 148 test and preconditions for the OLRB to certify a union as remedy for employer misconduct.
  • Successor Rights:  The regulation-making authority granted by Bill 148 to expand successor rights to contract tendering for publicly-funded services (such as homecare) will be repealed.
  • Structure of Bargaining Units: It will repeal the power of the OLRB to review and consolidate newly certified bargaining units with existing bargaining units. Instead, the OLRB will be empowered to review the structure of bargaining units where the existing bargaining units are no longer appropriate for collective bargaining.
  • Return-to-work Rights: The changes will effect a return to the six month limitation on an employee’s right to reinstatement following the start of a strike or lock-out.
  • First Collective Agreement Mediation and Mediation-Arbitration: The Bill 148 first collective agreement mediation and mediation-arbitration provisions and provisions for educational support will be repealed and replaced with the pre-Bill 148 conditions for access to first agreement arbitration, where it appears to the OLRB that collective bargaining has been unsuccessful for specified reasons.
  • Fines: Previous maximum fines for offences under the LRA will be reinstated, resulting in a decrease in fines from $5,000 to $2,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $25,000 for organizations.
  • Streamlining and Improving Processes: The proposed changes will expand and recognize alternative means of communications under the Act (e.g e-mail) for various types of documents and will allow the OLRB to make rules to expedite certain proceedings without the requirement of an order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
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