The Ontario Government recently received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017 to enact Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Bill 148 introduces a number of substantive changes to workers’ rights in Ontario which build on the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Much of the new legislation comes into effect as of January 1, 2018, although some provisions do not take effect until later in 2018 or in 2019/20.
The purpose of this communication is to provide you with a brief overview of Bill 148, draw your attention to areas that will impact you as an employee, and provide you with access to additional information. Given the extremely short lead time to implement the Act, the College will endeavour to provide information on a timely basis as each provision of Bill 148 is implemented.
The information below provides you with a brief overview of the Act’s scope along with key compliance deadlines. In addition, this communique contains links to where you can obtain more detailed information on the far reaching implications of the Bill and the Employment Standards Act (ESA) 2000.
Bill 148 – Scope Highlights
Previously, the Colleges were excluded from many aspects of the provincial Employment Standards Act (ESA) under the “Crown exemptions” provision. This exemption has been removed and in addition to the full scope of the ESA, Bill 148 introduces new employee rights and obligations for Ontario employers:
- Planned increases and regular planned reviews of the minimum wage rates
- New and expanded formula for calculating public holiday pay
- Increased vacation pay entitlement for employees with 5 or more years of service (ie. increases to 6% from 4%)
- Enhanced access to leaves of absence for a variety of circumstances, some of which is paid leave
- ‘Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value’ which ensures no employee is paid less, based on job complexity, than what is paid to another employee who performs a similar job
- Scheduling rights and minimum pay requirements
- Updates to various labour relations statutes
- Updates to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act
Links to source documents underpinning Bill 148 are listed at the end of this communication.
Key Dates – Highlights
January 1, 2018 – Minimum wage increase to $14/hr; ESA Crown exemptions removed; new vacation pay entitlements; adjustments to public holiday pay; enhanced leaves of absence; expanded record-keeping requirements.
April 1, 2018 – ‘Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value’*
January 1, 2019 – Scheduling rights and minimum pay requirements*
*NOTE: Where there is a collective agreement in place on the effective dates for these items, the collective agreement shall prevail until the earlier of the expiry of the collective agreement or January 1, 2020.
January 1, 2018 Implementation
The following outlines the most immediate implications of Bill 148 and further communications will follow as required.
Minimum Wage Increase
The minimum wage increase to $14.00/hour will be implemented January 1, 2018 and will impact student workers.
Public Holiday Pay
Most employees will now be eligible for Public Holiday Pay, including: New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Efforts are underway to scope and prepare for systems reconfigurations that will enable the College to automatically calculate the Public Holiday Pay in accordance with the specific calculation outlined in Bill 148. However, an interim administrative approach is required. Eligible employees will receive a separate email communique with details regarding the interim process.
The College is working on configuring our Evolve payroll system to calculate vacation pay as required by the Bill. More details to follow in early January.
Recordkeeping / Pay Statements
Bill 148 requires the employer to show vacation pay separately from regular wages on the pay statement. We are working on configuring the Evolve payroll system for this purpose. More details to follow in early January.
Personal Leaves of Absence
Bill 148 introduces a number of new Leaves of Absence which employees will be able to access beginning January 1, 2018, including 2 paid leave days under specific circumstances. More details to follow in early January.
Links to Source Documents:
ESA Poster (MoL’s current version is v6.0)
Bill 148 – Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (a summary of changes to the ESA)
The College is committed to ensuring compliance with the new provisions of Bill 148 and the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and will be communicating regularly as this work progresses and will provide a mechanism for submitting questions early in January.
Vice-President – Human Resources & Student Services