Making Ontario Open for Business Act to Repeal Labour and Employment Changes of Previous Government

On October 23, the provincial government tabled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47). This legislation would repeal or amend many of the changes made by the previous government under Bill 148.

What You Need To Know

Some notable amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA) would include:

  • keeping minimum wage at $14 come January 1, 2019. This would eliminate the increase to $15 contemplated under Bill 148. The $14 minimum wage would not be rolled back,
  • annual minimum-wage increases tied to inflation would be paused until 2020, and
  • adjustments to leave, pay equity, union certification, and return-to-work rules.

Amendments to the ESA

In addition to the changes to minimum wage, Bill 47 would make the following amendments to the ESA.

  • Repeal pay equity between full-time workers and part-time, temporary, and casual workers.
  • Repeal the onus requirement that employers must prove that an individual is not an employee.
  • Return to a prorating formula for calculating public holiday pay.
  • Replace the existing Personal Emergency Leave with eight unpaid leave days (three for personal illness, two for bereavement, and three for family responsibilities). Existing paid leave provisions for cases of domestic and sexual violence affecting an employee or their child would remain. The prohibition on employers requiring employees to provide a medical note in regard to an applicable leave would be repealed.

Amendments to the LRA

Bill 47 would make the following amendments to the LRA.

  • Repeal the requirement that workers in home care, building services, and temporary help agencies use card-based certification and allow these workers to vote through a secret ballot.
  • Repeal the requirement that employers provide employee lists to unions.
  • Return to the six-month limitation on an employee’s right to reinstatement following the start of a strike or lock-out.
  • Return to the pre-Bill 148 test and preconditions for the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to certify a union as a remedy for employer misconduct, and require the OLRB to determine whether a vote or new vote would be a sufficient remedy.
  • Repeal the OLRB’s power to review and consolidate newly certified bargaining units with existing ones.
  • Repeal the first collective agreement mediation and mediation-arbitration provisions established under Bill 148.

We will continue to monitor this legislation and will provide further updates as the bill moves toward becoming law. Please contact the authors or any member of the Pensions and Employment Practice for additional information on the significance of these potential changes to Ontario law.

To discuss these issues, please contact the author(s).

This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

For permission to republish this or any other publication, contact Janelle Weed.

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