Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 is now law. As set out in our earlier blog post, the Act significantly amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Most notably:
- Minimum wage is frozen at $14 per hour. Annual increases based on inflation will restart in 2020.
- The Personal Emergency Leave Amendments are repealed. Instead, employees are entitled to 8 unpaid leave days consisting of 3 days for personal illness, 2 days for bereavement and 3 days for family responsibilities.
- Employers are no longer prohibited from requiring an employee to provide a medical note in order to support an absence.
- The reverse onus, which required employers involved in legal proceedings to prove that an individual is an independent contractor and not an employee, if this was in dispute, has been repealed.
- Employers are no longer required to pay part-time, casual, temporary and temporary help agency employees the same rate as full-time employees. Differences in rates of pay based on gender are still prohibited.
In light of these amendments, the Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) has released a new ESA poster highlighting the most important employer and employee rights and responsibilities under the ESA.
Ontario employers must:
- Print (in black and white or colour) and display the new poster in a conspicuous area in the workplace, where employees will see it.
- If most people in your workplace speak a language other than English, a version of the poster in the most commonly spoken language in your workplace is to be displayed next to the English version.
- Provide a copy of the new poster to each employee. This can be done electronically.
- Provide a copy of the new poster to each new hire within 30 days of their date of hire.
Employers that fail to display the new poster and/ or abide by the above obligations may be subject to prosecution under the ESA and the following fines:
- $250.00 for a first contravention;
- $500.00 for a second contravention in a three-year period; and,
- $1,000.00 for a third contravention in a three-year period.
It is also important to note that new legislation is currently being debated which would remove Ontario employers’ obligation to display the ESA poster. Under the proposed Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018, employers would still be required to provide employees with a copy of the ESA poster. Until Bill 66 is enacted, employers should continue to comply with all of the obligations set out above.
If you have any questions about your ESA obligations, please contact your regular BLC lawyer.