11 Dec 2018

Bill 47: What changes have been made that is important for you to know 

Bill 47: Making Ontario Open for Business Act, has recently been brought into law, bringing some changes for your business, coming into effect on 1 January 2019.

Minimum wage:

Minimum wage will stay unaffected until October 2020 before it will be adjusted annually by the rate of inflation:
General minimum wage:                 $ 14.00
Student minimum wage:                 $ 13.15
Liquor Server minimum wage:        $ 12.20

Leave days:

Companies are no longer required to pay for 2 personal emergency leave days. Companies will also be allowed to ask for documentation for reasonable circumstances, as well as doctor’s notes.
Currently, workers are entitled to 10 Personal Emergency Leave days per year, 2 of which are paid leave.
Bill 47 eliminates Personal Emergency Leave and in return will entitle employees with 8 unpaid leave days. The new unpaid leave days are broken up into 3 types of leave; 3 personal sick days, 3 days for family responsibility and 2 days for bereavement.
Certain restrictions do apply before you can qualify for the unpaid leave days; e.g. employees must have been employed for at least 2 weeks; leave to be taken in entire days; no duplication if employment contract already provides for similar paid or unpaid leave)

Statutory Holiday Pay:

Bill 47 permanently maintains the old formula for calculating public holiday pay by restoring it to the statute.
To calculate statutory holiday pay: take the employee’s regular wages earned over the last four weeks before the holiday and divide by 20.
For an employee to be able to collect public holiday pay, employees must have worked the last regularly scheduled day/shift before the holiday and the first regularly scheduled day/shift after the holiday.
What happens if an employee has to work on a holiday? There are 2 options when it comes to paying an employee, who agreed in writing or electronically that they are willing to work on the holiday:

  • They can receive their usual wages for working on the statutory holiday and received another day of their choosing to use have an off day, which must be paid for that day according to the public holiday pay rate.
  • They can be paid according to the standard public holiday pay plus premium pay for all the hours worked on the public holiday, and not receive another day off.
Some of the other changes Bill 47 is bringing into effect is:
  • an employer will no longer be required to provide equal pay based on employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary)
  • Scraps a provision introduced in Bill 148 that puts the burden on an employer to prove that a worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee
  • Employers no longer have to reinstate employees after six months of strike, causing the balance to tip into the employer’s favour as they can legally threaten not to rehire striking workers, following the end of a strike that lasts longer than 6 months.

Information received from the following websites:

https://www.fasken.com/en/knowledgehub/2018/11/bill-148—bill-47-passes
https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/advocacy/ontario-employment-standards
https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/tools-resources/pay-employees-public-holiday-ontario
https://www.blaney.com/articles/bill-47-update-changes-to-the-employment-standards-act-2000-receive-royal-assent
https://kmlaw.ca/bill-47-changes-ontario-labour-employment-legislation-now-passed/
https://www.fasken.com/en/knowledgehub/2018/11/bill-148—new-regulations

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