New Legislation Improves Workers’ Rights
On June 1, 2017, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, would amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995. The Bill, entitled the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, is largely a response to the Report published by the Changing Workplaces Review and mounting public pressure by organizations such as the Workers’ Action Centre.
Some of the key changes proposed for the Employment Standards Act include:
- Increasing the standard minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019, with an inflationary increase on October 1, 2019 and every year following;
- Increasing vacation entitlement to three weeks per year for all employees of five years or more;
- Permitting an employee to request a change to work schedule or location and mandating that the employer discuss such a request with the employee (note: this only applies to employees of at least three months);
- Expanding personal emergency leave to all employees (not only those in workplaces of 50+ employees);
- Providing two days of paid personal emergency leave; and
- Requiring employers to provide employees with 48 hours’ notice to cancel a shift or else provide an employee with three hours’ wages.
Notably, the government also intends to add another 150 workplace inspectors to address the issue of enforcement.
While limited, these are positive changes for many employees.
Millard & Company specializes in employment and human rights law and has represented parties in many cases both inside and outside of the courtroom. Contact us to discuss your options.
By Mika Imai; photo by OFL Communications, cc.