With the adoption and Royal Assent of Bill 148, changes to the Employment Standard Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA), workers in Ontario will enjoy many work related improvements and see their working conditions improve significantly.
These major changes came about due to a lot of pressure on the current Liberal government by organized labour.
Although some of our suggested changes did not make it to the final version of the Bill – card check comes to mind – all of the changes that were adopted are positive ones.
These are minimum standards. Union members also have a collective bargaining agreement regulating work rules and it supersedes the minimums prescribed under the law.
Some of the ESA highlights of Bill 148 include:
- Minimum wage increased 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;
- An extra week vacation from 2 to 3 weeks after 5 years of continued service with the same employer;
- Expansion of the personal emergency leave provision to include a minimum of 10 days, including two paid days, per year for all workers;
- Employers banned from requiring a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave;
- Part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers;
- Family Day declared a statutory holiday.
If your CBA has provisions less than these new changes, these new rules apply to you as well.
For Federally-regulated workers in Ontario, only the minimum wage rule applies.