On June 1, 2017, the Government of Ontario tabled Bill 148, entitled “An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and to make related amendments to other Acts”. If passed, changes are expected to be implemented in 2018 or 2019.

Among the changes to the Employment Standards Act (the Act) would be an increase of the minimum wage from $11.40/hour to $14.00/hour by January 1, 2018, and to $15.00/hour in 2019, and an increase in paid vacation to 3 weeks after 5 years of service (whereas the Act currently provides for 2 weeks paid vacation).

Another notable change is the addition of section 5.1 to the Act which provides:

  1. An employer shall not treat, for the purposes of this Act, a person who is an employee of the employer as if the person were not an employee under this Act.

This new section would prohibit an employer from misclassifying an employee as an “independent contractor” in order to exempt the employer from the obligations in respect of that employee under the Act. Any such misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor would expose employers to potential prosecution or monetary penalties.

Additionally, Bill 148 would amend the Act to require that employers pay employees a minimum of 3 hours pay (i) for shifts that are under three hours and (i) to an employee who is on call to work and is either not called to work or is called to work but works less than 3 hours.

Summary By: Michael House

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