LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Employment Standards—Bill 148
July 1: If Bill 148 ends up being dismantled under the new PC regime, the irony is that its predecessor actually began the process. It happened before the election when the Liberal government announced that it was peeling back the controversial public holiday pay rule and reinstating the previous formula based on wages in the 4 weeks before the work week of the holiday divided by 20. Now that there’s a new sheriff in town, all parts of Bill 148 are at risk of repeal, most especially the $15 minimum wage that’s so much despised by the PC’s business constituency even though the party didn’t specifically address the issue during the election.
Next Wave of Bill 148 ESA Changes (Subject to PC Govt. Cancellation)
|EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2019|
|General Minimum Wage||Increases from $14 to $15 per hour|
|Employee Work Schedule Refusal Right||· Right to refuse employer request to work unscheduled day on less than 96 hours’ notice unless work is to deal with emergency or public threat to health or safety
· Right to request changes to work schedule or location after 3 months’ employment—if request denied, employer must furnish reasons in writing
|Call-In Pay||· Employees “on call” who aren’t called to work or are called and work less than 3 hours entitled to 3 hours’ wages
· Employer must pay 3 regular hours’ wages if it cancels employee’s scheduled day of work or on-call period on less than 48 hours’ notice
June 29: Another direct employment impact of the election is the scrapping of Liberal plans to hire 175 new ESA inspectors. Although 75 inspectors have already been hired, the new government hiring freeze means the MOL won’t be able to hire the other 100, at least for now. It also remains to be seen whether the hiring freeze derails the MOL’s planned ESA Blitz schedule for the rest of the year.
ESA Blitz Schedule for Remainder of 2018 (Subject to PC Govt. Cancellation)
|Inspection Initiative||Target Sector(s)||Dates|
|Province-wide Blitz||Construction||May 1 to Aug. 31|
|Eastern Region||Small retail/grocers||June 1 to Sept. 28|
|Western Region||Golf courses||June 1 to Sept. 30|
|Northern Region||Hotel/motel accommodations||Aug. 1 to Oct. 31|
|Central East Region||Small/independent retailers||Sept. 1 to Dec. 31|
|Central West Region||Retail trade (non-restaurant/grocery)||Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, 2019|
Jan. 1: That’s the planned effective date for another major piece of Liberal legislation that may not come to fruition under the PC government, the Pay Transparency Act. Highlights of the law if it does come off:
- Mandatory listing of salary rates or ranges in all publicly advertised job postings
- Ban on asking job applicants how much they made with previous employers
- Ban on reprisals against employees for discussing or disclosing how much they make
- New framework for tracking and reporting gaps in pay based on gender.
June 29: In one of its first moves, the new PC government announced that Ontario will no longer offer free prescriptions to kids and young adults who have private insurance coverage. Free prescription medications to Ontarians under age 25 was the centerpiece of OHIP+, the drug benefit program adopted by the Liberal regime in 2017.
Nov. 1: That’s the scheduled effective date of one law that’s more likely to remain on track, the Police Record Checks Reform Act which imposes new background checking rules for employment and other purposes. While the privacy rules will be stricter, the new process will make life easier for employers by establishing a uniform procedure for checks that are currently subject to 3 different sets of rules:
- Criminal records checks
- Criminal record and judicial matters checks
- Vulnerable sector checks.
July 11: Last month, the European Union adopted a massive new law requiring companies that do business in Europe to protect the personal data of EU citizens even if those companies aren’t located in Europe. And now the Ontario Privacy Commission has issued a fact sheet explaining the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its impact on Canadian firms.
July 1: Three new cancers have been added to the list of cancers deemed to be work-related when suffered by firefighters with specific minimum years of service:
- Primary-site ovarian cancer (minimum 10 years)
- Primary-site cervical cancer (10 years)
- Primary-site penile cancer (10 years).
July 3: FSCO published a series of new FAQs covering: i. pension plan requirements to provide biennial statements; and ii. asset transfers from a single employer- (SEPP) to jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP).