It’s more than an increase in minimum wage!

Bill 148, Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 passed third reading on November 22, 2017, and has now received Royal Assent.

The Act brings significant changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Ontario Labour Relations Act (LRA). ESA changes may come into effect as early as the day the Bill receives Royal Assent. LRA changes may come into effect January 1st, 2018 or when it receives Royal Assent – whichever is earlier.

Below is a sampling of some changes to the ESA and LRA for provincially regulated employers in Ontario. For a complete review of Bill 148 amendments visit

Under ESA

  • All employees entitled to have 10 days Personal Emergency Leave (PEL), 2 of which are required to be paid days; employers are prohibited from requesting a doctor’s note from employees taking a leave under PEL
  • Parental leave to be aligned with changes to the Employment Insurance Act allowing parents to take a combined maximum of 18 months of pregnancy and parental leave
  • Increased paid vacation to 3 weeks after 5 years of service
  • Notwithstanding some exceptions, casual, temporary and seasonal employees will be required to be paid the same rate of pay as full-time employees for performing substantially the same work.

Under LRA

  • Establish card-based certification for the following sectors: temporary help agency industry, business services sector, home care, and community services sector;
  • Authorize the OLRB to conduct votes outside the workplace, inclusive of electronic and phone voting;
  • Extend successor rights to the retendering of building services contracts;
  • Where the union is able to demonstrate 20% employee support access to employee lists and certain contact information must be provided;

There are many important questions to be asking:

Is your business ready for these changes? Have employee-related programs, policy, and procedures been reviewed? How will these changes impact employee relations programs and strategy? How will these changes impact operations?

The Osborne Group team of Human and Labour Relations consultants can support your organization with this change while ensuring business readiness in an efficient and cost-effective way. You can reach us on our Contact page or by using the specific Principal information on the team page.