Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, reintroduced this summer by the government of Ontario makes a number of significant changes to employment related statutes including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), and Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Bill 18 is itself a reintroduction of Bill 146, which was introduced before the latest election. However, Bill 18 now also includes new minimum wage provisions that were previously part of another bill (Bill 165).
If enacted, Bill 18 would:
- Eliminate the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages in proceedings before the Ministry of Labour
- Increase the period of recovery for unpaid wages in proceedings before the Ministry of Labour to two years (from six and 12 months)
- Make temporary help agencies and their clients (employers) jointly and severally liable for employment standards violations and workplace safety violations
- Increase record keeping requirements for clients of temporary help agencies
- Include new provisions for minimum wage to be adjusted yearly according to the CPI.
- Require employers to provide employees with a handout containing information about employees’ rights in Ontario
- Extend coverage under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to co-op students and unpaid interns
- Make changes related to bargaining units in the construction industry
- Among other changes.
OTA is working with associations in other sectors of the economy to make changes to the proposed bill. OTA and other associations believe that the provincial government can achieve their overarching objectives of the bill through less intrusive measures/policy options with regards to business to business relationships.
OTA is seeking a meeting with Ontario Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, to discuss options. To assist OTA, we would like to hear from members who would be negatively impacted by these proposed changes. To become involved in this OTA initiative, please e-mail [email protected]