December 19, 2018

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Bill 47 Will Reverse Many of Bill 148’s Changes

Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, passed its third reading on November 21, 2018, and will now become law in Ontario. Bill 47 repeals several provisions introduced by the previous liberal government under Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

Bill 47 contains a number employer-friendly changes that will come into effect on January 1, 2019, including significant modifications to leave of absence entitlements, scheduling requirements, the minimum wage, and equal pay for equal work provisions under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Bill 47 will also affect the Labour Relations Act, 1995. It repeals many of the changes introduced by Bill 148 with respect to union certification, access to employee lists, and first collective agreement arbitration.

Lastly, Bill 47 changes the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009; the Ontario government plans to develop a replacement model for the regulation of skilled trades and apprenticeship program to replace the Ontario College of Trades.

Changes introduced in the final version of Bill 47 include the following:

  • The formula used to calculate public holiday pay will change. The holiday pay rate will be based on the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to the employee in the four workweeks before the workweek in which the public holiday occurs, divided by 20.

  • The provision affording successor employer rights to service providers that directly or indirectly receive public funds will be repealed.

  • The Ontario Labour Relations Board’s authority to review the structure of a bargaining unit for any reason other than to determine if the bargaining unit is no longer appropriate for collective bargaining will be eliminated.

  • Employees’ indefinite right to reinstatement following a strike or lockout will be eliminated. An employee’s right to reinstatement will be limited to six months, as it was before Bill 148.

Employers that negotiated collective agreements and employment contracts that incorporate Bill 148 entitlements may want to approach the rollback of the changes with caution. Once the entitlement is a contractual obligation, changing conditions to reflect lesser rights may constitute constructive dismissal.

The good news is that many of Bill 148’s changes to scheduling and pay rules that had been scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2019, are no longer going to affect Ontario businesses.

© 2018, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

Shir Fulga, Ogletree Deakiins Law Firm, Toronto, Articling Student
Articling Student

Shir is an Articling Student at Ogletree Deakins’ Toronto office.

Shir holds a Juris Doctor from Queen’s University, Faculty of Law and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Spanish from Queen’s University.

During her time in law school, Shir worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Queen’s Workplace Law course and as a Research Assistant in the area of comparative constitutional law and legal ethics. She received the Baker & McKenzie award in labour law and a Second Honourable Mention in the Phanor J Eder...

416-637-9064
Michael Comartin, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Michael is an associate in Ogletree Deakins’ Toronto office. His diverse practice spans all areas of employment law, labour law, wage and hours issues, human rights, accessibility, and employee benefits and executive compensation. Michael also has experience with class actions, appellate litigation, and general litigation, having practiced in commercial and public law litigation at a previous firm, with an emphasis on class actions, judicial review, and international litigation.

Michael has appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Divisional Court, the Superior Court of Justice, the Federal Court, the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and various labour arbitrators. Michael clerked at the Divisional Court. Michael regularly appears in Divisional Court as duty counsel as part of Pro Bono Law Ontario’s amicus project.

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