Blog post updated on November 23, 2017 after publication
On November 22, 2017, an amended version of Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 received third reading and passed. It is now waiting for royal assent to become law. Once it receives assent, the Bill will become law and amend significantly the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”).
The majority of the ESA amendments come into effect on January 1, 2018. However, several amendments come into force on assent and before the end of 2017. For example, measures regarding maternity and parental leave will come into force on December 3, 2017, to coincide with the coming into force of changes to parental leave EI benefits. Others will come into force as of January 1, 2019. All of the proposed LRA amendments come into effect on assent or on January 1, 2018.
The general minimum wage rate will increase to $14 per hour from $11.60 on January 1, 2018.
The name of the Bill was changed to Bill 148, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, since it now includes a new section related to amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that provides that an employer cannot require a worker to wear footwear with an elevated heel unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely. An exception from this prohibition is made for employers of performers in the entertainment and advertising industry.
We will be reviewing the final version of the An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act and any guidance published by the Ontario Ministry of Labour once Bill 148 receives royal assent and provide an updated commentary with more details and more specific effective dates.