Today, the Ontario Provincial Government sent emails to Canadian businesses outlining forthcoming changes to minimum wage and workplace protections and entitlements that employers will be required to adhere to in the New Year.
The Canadian Federal and Provincial compliance changes beginning in January 2018 will see an increase in minimum wage in Ontario as well as implementing protections outlined in Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 affecting holidays, vacation, overtime and leave.
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Ontario’s general minimum wage will increase from $11.60 per hour to $14.00 per hour.
Special minimum wage rates will remain including those for liquor servers, students under 18-years-old, hunting and fishing guides and homeworkers, but will increase by the same percentage as the general minimum wage.
Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.
On Nov. 22, 2017 Ontario passed Bill 148 which amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 updating legislation surrounding holidays, vacations, leaves and minimum wage.
Notable changes include:
Leaves of absence
Six weeks pregnancy leave will be increased to 12 weeks. Ontario is the first province to require combined pregnancy and parental protected leaves of 18 months. Changes to Section 48 state that a parental leave must begin no later than 78 weeks after the birth of the child or after the child comes into the employee’s custody and control for the first time. For employees taking parental leave for pregnancy the entitlement is increased from 35 weeks to 61 weeks and from 37 weeks to 63 weeks otherwise.
Entitlement for family medical leave is increased from up to eight weeks to up to 28 weeks.
New section 49.4 amends the current entitlement that an employee may take leave to provide care to their critically ill child to include any critically ill family member.
New section 49.5 states an entitlement of up to 104 weeks of unpaid leave if a child of the employee dies for any reason. This would change the current entitlement to leave only in the event of a crime-related child death.
New section 49.6 retains the entitlement to crime-related child disappearance leave but increases the entitlement from up to 52 weeks to up to 104 weeks.
Domestic or sexual violence leave
The new section 49.7 states an employee employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks is entitled to ten days and 15 weeks of leave if, “the employee or a child of the employee experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat of domestic or sexual violence.”
The first five days of leave are paid. The leave must be taken in adherence to purposes listen in the section.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour says it is preparing guidance and interpretation materials.
While the Ontario Ministry of Labour prepares guidance and interpretation materials they refer employers to the text of Bill 148.
More information about Ontario minimum wage increase: Ontario Minimum Wage Increase
Read Bill 148: Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017