Shifting Tides: Ontario Government Announces Repeal of Sweeping Employment Law Changes
As we reported here and here, in 2017, Ontario’s Liberal government enacted Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which entailed the biggest changes to employment and labour laws in Ontario in a generation. On October 2, 2018, Ontario’s new Conservative government announced that it is planning to repeal Bill 148.
There are few details at this time as to which parts of Bill 148 the new government will repeal. The government has already stated that it will freeze the minimum wage hike at $14 per hour (Bill 148 included a planned minimum wage increase to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2019). Other than a change to the minimum wage rate, the Conservative government has not formally announced any other changes.
Other items that Bill 148 enacted under the Employment Standards Act, 2000—such as restrictive scheduling rules, rules requiring equal pay regardless of employment status (e.g. part time versus full time), expansion of paid and unpaid leaves of absence, and minimum payments for shift cancellations and on-calls—may be under review as part of this process. Although not as heavily publicized, some of the changes to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 that were designed to make union organizing easier, may be scrutinized as well.