Ontario Bill 148 Updating Employment and Labour Legislation Passed

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”).

We wrote about this Bill previously here, here, here, here and here, including about certain approved amendments made to the Bill.

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.


  1. Is there any part of the newly amended or existing ESA 2000 that requires an employer to pay interest to the employee on accrued vacation pay. ( some employers allow employees to leave acation pay in accrual at tge employee’s option for indefinite periods of time.

  2. Hi Jim, blog posts are general in nature and questions specific to a case are usually not provided with a response. However, without this being a legal opinion or advice, in general, employment standards legislation across Canada does not deal with interest payments on accrued vacation that is not taken. And I do not think interest on unpaid vacation comes into play in the law. The point of vacation time and pay in the law is to ensure employees do take their vacation (time and pay) within a certain period of time after it is earned, not for it to accrue and never be taken. That is why, in Ontario, in general, when an employee foregoes vacation time, approval of the director is required and the vacation pay must be paid out.

    This said, effective January 1, 2018, the Director of Employment Standards will be permitted to determine interest rates for different provisions of the ESA with approval of the Minister of Labour.

  3. I work for a temp agency and recently received and inquiry regarding the process employees need to follow in order to have there wage rate adjusted under the equal pay for equal work portion of the legislation. Is there a form that can be pulled of the government web site that employees can use to initiate the change … it’s been suggested to me that employee have to initiated the change through a formal written request to the agency.

  4. I would suggest you consult with the Ministry of Labour but to my knowledge there is no formal written form to use. Please consult their webpage for temp agencies. https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/temporary-help-agencies