Labour & Employment Law Blog

Premier Ford set to Reverse Recent Changes to Ontario Employment Laws

The Ontario government will reverse a number of key employment laws recently put in place by the previous liberal government in a new bill.

The Ontario government introduced this new bill in order to address certain concerns about the previous legislation introduced by the liberals.  The Ontario government claims that many of those changes were done too quickly and was too much too soon for business to handle.

Bill 47, announced last month, called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, repeals such employment law reforms including the law that gave Ontario employees a minimum of two paid sick days per year and the requirement of pay equity between full-time and part-time employees.

The bill will also freeze minimum wage at $14 per hour for two years.

There are also certain changes made that will not be repealed by the new bill.  For instance, employees are still entitled to 3 weeks vacation after 5 years of service.  The leave entitlements for sexual or domestic violence were also left in place.

In addition, the bill introduced a number of changes to the Labour Relations Act.  A number of these changes will result in the law being set back to what it was before the changes made by the previous liberal government.  For instance, an employee’s right to reinstatement following the start of a strike or lock-out will be set back to six months.  Further, the tests and requirements for the Ontario Labour Relations Board to certify a union as a remedy for employer misconduct will also be set back to what it was before the changes made by the previous liberal government.

At this point, both employees and employers should be aware of these upcoming changes in order to understand how this could affect certain employment standards or conditions of employment.

However, employers should refrain from doing anything drastic about their employment policies or procedures relating to the changes proposed under Bill 47 or at least move with extreme caution.  This is because there is the potentiality that an employer may make a change that could be construed as grounds for constructive dismissal.  In employment law, a constructive dismissal occurs when an employee experiences a fundamental change to their employment contract.  Grounds for constructive dismissal depend on the significance of the changes to the employment contract and whether these changes were substantial enough to warrant determination that a breach took place.

If either employers or employees have any questions about Bill 47 and how these new changes will affect the workplace, it is imperative that they speak with an employment lawyer to help guide them.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.