Getting Closer to a Revamped Labour Market in Ontario
The Ontario government is in the process of implementing significant changes to the rules and regulations surrounding Ontario’s labour laws. The changes (to be implemented starting next year) will apply across a range of areas. The following provides some of the more significant changes:
- More annual vacation
Paid vacation will increase to a minimum of three (3) weeks per year for those with at least 5 years of service. Currently all employees, regardless of years of service, are entitled to a minimum of two (2) weeks of vacation per year.
- Higher minimum wage
Minimum wage will increase to $14.00 starting on January 1, 2018 and increase again to $15.00 beginning on January 1, 2019.
- Clarification for independent contractors
Employers who wish to treat someone as a non-employee will have the onus to prove it. Specifically, the rules will make it harder for employers to classify an individual as a non-employee and to avoid the associated obligations.
- New rules for employee schedules
Employees will be able to refuse shifts if provided with less than 4 days notice. They will also be paid a minimum of 3 hours wages if schedules are cancelled or they are called in but required to work for less than 3 hours.
- Greater government enforcement
The Ontario government has committed to hiring more employment standards officers and to significantly increasing enforcement of employment standards. This includes a commitment to address employment standards claims quickly and to inspecting at least 10 percent of all workplaces.
- Paid personal emergency leave
Employers will be required to provide employees with at least 10 days of personal emergency days to cover circumstances such as personal illness, at least 2 of which will need to be paid. Employers will also not be permitted to request a doctor’s note to substantiate the absence.
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