10 Changes in 6 Minutes - How Bill 148 Will Impact Your Business.

Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (aka Bill 148) and
Changes to the Employment Standards Act


  1. The growth of non-standard work has put many workers in more precarious circumstances.

  2. Protection of vulnerable workers.

                                        Bill 148 is an effort by the Ontario government to support precarious workers.

10 Changes in 6 Minutes
How Bill 148 will impact your Business

1.    Minimum Wage – Section 23.1(1) of the ESA is amended to increase the minimum wage to $14.00 for most employees on January 1, 2018 and to $15.00 for most employees on January 1, 2019, and is subject to an annual inflation adjustment on October 1 of every year, starting in October of 2019.

2.    Independent Contractors – The new section 5.1 prohibits employers from treating a person who is their employee as if the person were not an employee, targeting independent contractor relationships. Further, the new section 5.1(2) places the onus on the employer to prove that a person is not an employee.

3.      Requests for Changes to Schedule or Work Location – Allows employees to request changes to their schedule or work location, and employers must discuss the changes with the employee and either grant them or provide reasons for the denial.

4.      Scheduling – Requires employers to provide a minimum three hours' pay for shifts that are under three hours, and three hours pay if the employer cancels their shift within 48 hours of its start time.

(a)   Employers must also pay three hours to employees for being on call, if they are not called in to work while on call.

(b)   Employees have a right to refuse requests or demands to work made within four days of the request.

However, a new exception has been added: the provision does not apply to employees required to be on call to ensure the "continued delivery of essential public services", if they were not actually called in to work (s. 21.4).

5.      Equal Pay for Equal Work (April 1, 2018) – Part XII is amended to add provisions 42.1 and 42.2. Subject to certain exceptions (e.g. pay differential based on seniority), these provisions entitle employees to equal pay from an employer regardless of employment status. Amendments are also proposed to the reprisal provisions to prohibit reprisals against employees who make inquiries about rates of pay, or who disclose their rate of pay to determine whether the employer is complying with this part.

            For the purposes of the equal pay provisions “substantially the same” means "substantially the same but not necessarily identical" (s. 41.2).

6.      Enhanced Pregnancy and Parental Leave - Under the amended section 47(1)(b)(ii):

7.      Personal Emergency Leave – All employees are entitled to 10 days’ personal emergency leave, not just those at an employer with 50 employees or greater, as was previously the case. Further, if the employee has been employed by the employer for one week or longer, two days of the leave are required to be paid days. Employers have a right to request evidence of entitlement to these days, but do not have the right to request a certificate from a health practitioner.

8.      Family Medical Leaves – Part XIV is amended to provide increased leaves. Family medical leave is increased from eight to 28 weeks (section 49.1). The new section 49.5 entitles employees to 104 weeks of unpaid leave if their child dies for any reason. New section 49.6 retains entitlement to crime-related child disappearance leave but increases the leave from up to 52 weeks to up to 104 weeks.

            Section 49.1(3) significantly expands the family relationships that qualify for family medical leave beyond simply what would traditionally be thought of as immediate family.

9.      Public Holidays – Section 24 is amended to require payment based on the average day worked in the pay period immediately preceding the public holiday. This is reversed effective July 1/18.

Further, while employers are still required to provide a day off in lieu if the employee is required to work on the public holiday, new subsections in sections 27 to 30 require the employer to provide a dated written statement setting out the public holiday the employee is required to work, and the substitute day.

10.  Vacation with Pay – The new sections 33 to 35 entitle employees whose period of employment is 5 years or more to a minimum of three weeks of vacation.

For further information:

Nancy Shapiro
Koskie Minsky LLP
416 595 2108

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