Ontario has passed landmark legislation that will bring sweeping changes to Ontario workplaces.
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will raise the minimum wage, change working conditions for part-time and contract workers, expand personal emergency leave and step up enforcement of employment laws.
According to a Ministry of Labour media release, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will bring the following changes into force:
- Raise Ontario's general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
- Mandate equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies' client companies
- Expand personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year for all employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week
- Ban employers from requiring a doctor's sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave
- Provide up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job when a worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence, including paid leave for the first five days
- Bring Ontario's vacation time in line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer
- Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
To enforce these changes, the province is hiring up to 175 more employment standards officers and is launching a program to educate both employees and businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.