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The Ontario government has introduced the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019, (Bill 66) in the legislature, with the aim of approving changes to a variety of acts to cut business costs for employers, harmonize regulatory requirements and end duplication of “red tape” procedures.

If passed, Bill 66 will amend the Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act, and Pension Benefits Act.

The proposed changes will eliminate the requirement that an employer obtains the approval of the Director of employment standards in the following cases:

  • If an employee will be working more than 48 hours in a work week; or
  • If an employee’s hours will be averaged in accordance with the terms of an averaging agreement to calculate the employee’s overtime pay (over a period that does not exceed four weeks)

Currently, for an employer to have employees work more than 48 hours weekly, he/she must file an annual application for approval to the Director of employment standards. As it stands, this application can take weeks to be processed.

Employers will now instead be able to institute these practices in their workplace by making an agreement directly with the employee.

Further, the Director, and not the Minister, will now be required to publish a poster providing information about the Employment Standards Act and regulations and employers will no longer be required to post this poster in the workplace.

The proposed changes are likely to provide cost savings and increase the flexibility for employers, especially for small business owners are sometimes reluctant to engage with the Director of employment standards on employment administration issues.

Bill 66 is not yet law, but it has been submitted for a third reading in the legislature, and given how quickly the government passed Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (Bill 47), it is reasonable to expect that Bill 66 will also continue to proceed quickly through the legislature.

Takeaways

Sultan Lawyers PC will continue to keep its clients informed of any further developments as Bill 66 progresses. If you have any questions about the impact of these changes in your workplace, please contact Sultan Lawyers PC by telephone at 416-214-5111 or by email at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.


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