As we had previously reported in early November and mid-November last year, Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, received Royal Assent on November 20, 2014. Bill 18 set out new labour and employment obligations for Ontario employers, some of which immediately came into effect on November 20, 2014, while others would come into effect after November 20, 2014. On May 20, 2015, two of these new obligations came into effect.

Provision of Informational Poster

Effective May 20, 2015, Ontario employers are required to provide each employee with a copy of the most recent informational poster published by the Minister of Labour, and Ministry-prepared translations of such posters (if any), if requested by the employee. Employees hired prior to May 20, 2015 must be provided with a copy of such poster by June 19, 2015. Employees hired after May 20, 2015 must be provided with a copy of such poster within 30 days of commencing employment.

Employers can obtain the Ministry of Labour’s most recent informational posters through ServiceOntario Publications, or in PDF format on the Ministry of Labour’s website.

Compelling Mandatory Self-Audits

Effective May 20, 2015, an employment standards officer now has the power to require an Ontario employer to conduct an examination/self-audit of an employer’s records, practices, or both, to determine whether the employer is in compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 or its regulations. Such employers will be required to conduct the self-audit and report the results to the employment standards officer.

Employers may wish to conduct a proactive employment practices audit in order to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and mitigate the risk of a contravention finding.

Looking Ahead (and in the Rearview Mirror)

The above-noted changes are just the most recent of those enacted by Bill 18, and further changes will come into force in the coming months.

Although Bill 18 has undoubtedly increased Ontario employers’ employment-related obligations, awareness of the extent of the changes and proactive compliance will assist employers in mitigating its impact.