On July 16, 2014, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn introduced Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014. This bill proposes several significant changes to Ontario’s workplace laws.
If passed, the bill would:
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”)
- Require temporary help agencies and their clients to record the number of hours worked by each assignment employee. Bill 18 would also hold both of these parties jointly and severally liable for wages owing to an assignment employee.
- Starting October 15, 2015, adjust Ontario’s minimum wage each year using a formula based on the Consumer Price Index. No adjustment of the minimum wage would be made for years in which application of the formula would result in a decrease of the minimum wage.
- Allow Employment Standards Officers (“ESO’s”) to require employers to conduct examinations of their own records to determine compliance with the ESA and provide a report to the ESO.
- Remove the $10,000 cap on orders for unpaid wages and allow ESO’s to make orders for unpaid wages reaching back two years. The current limit is six months.
Labour Relations Act, 1995
- Shorten the “open period” in the construction industry to 2 months. The open period is the only time during which a union can displace the bargaining rights of an incumbent bargaining agent and an employee can file a termination application.
Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Expand the definition of “worker” to include individuals performing work or services for no monetary compensation under a program approved by a college or a secondary school board and certain other individuals receiving training from an employer.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
- Provide that, if a temporary help agency lends out or hires the services of a worker to another employer who participates in an experience or merit rating program, and the worker sustains an injury while performing work for the other employer, the Board must attribute the injury to the other employer. If the injury requires healthcare or results in the worker not being able to earn full wages, the other employer is also required to notify the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of the accident within three days and can be fined for failing to do so.
Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009
- Bill 18 expands the application of this Act from foreign nationals employed in Ontario as live-in caregivers to all foreign nationals employed in Ontario or attempting to find employment in Ontario.
This update merely provides an overview of the most significant changes proposed by Bill 18. For more detailed information on Bill 18 and its implications for employers, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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