Government freezing $14 minimum wage as part of labour reform rollbacks

We have been waiting to see what comes out of the Ontario Government in regards to the Bill 148 Rollbacks and it looks like we finally know.  See a quick summary and article below.

Many of our clients provide benefits in excess of the mandatory minimums so the initial changes did not mean too much (other than administratively), so the only question with these changes is…do you roll back to the minimum or keep the increased benefit you may have already communicated to staff last January?

Clip From E2R

Significant amendments the Open for Business Act intends to introduce to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 include:

  • Minimum Wage: Freezing the minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020. The minimum wage under Bill 148 was set to increase to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.
  • Personal Emergency Leave: Replacing the Personal Emergency Leave reforms introduced by Bill 148 with three personal illness days, two days for bereavement and three days for family responsibilities, all of which are likely unpaid. Bill 148 currently provides most Ontario employees with up to 10 days of job-protected leave, the first two of which are paid.
  • Misclassification: Repealing the requirement for the employer to prove that an individual is not an employee (“reverse onus”) where there is a dispute over whether the individual is an employee.
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work: Repealing equal pay for equal work based on employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status). The requirement for equal pay based on sex will remain.
  • Scheduling: Repealing several scheduling provisions introduced by Bill 148 that were going to be effective as of January 1, 2019 including the right to refuse scheduling changes without sufficient notice, on call pay and cancellation pay.
  • Penalties: The government is returning to the previous administrative penalties for contraventions of the ESA by decreasing the maximum penalties from $350/$700/$1500 to $250/$500/$1000, respectively.