Consultations are now underway as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) Changing Workplaces Review.

Announced in February, the MOL has indicated that the Changing Workplaces Review will focus on potential changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995.  This review is part of the MOL’s broader mandate to implement employment and labour law reforms in their effort to strengthen protections for vulnerable workers and support businesses in today’s evolving economy.  Specifically, the Changing Workplaces Review and consultations seek to address:

  • The changing demographic of workers;
  • The increase in part-time work, temporary labour and self-employment;
  • The growing proportion of service sector jobs;
  • The impact of technological change and globalization on the modern workplace; and
  • The long-term decline in private-sector unionization.

To lead these consultations and provide a final report and recommendations, the MOL has appointed two special advisors, C. Michael Mitchell, a former senior partner at the union-side firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and the Honourable John C. Murray, a former Ontario Superior Court Justice and management-side lawyer.

The consultations began on June 16, 2015 will continue at public meetings across Ontario throughout the summer.  The MOL has indicated that it will also be accepting written comments on the Changing Workplaces Review until September 18, 2015

The MOL has published a Guide to Consultations which can be found here.  Given the questions posed in the Guide, it can be expected that the eventual report will provide recommendations on changing some of the minimum standards set out in the Employment Standards Act (including with respect to hours of work, leaves of absences and notice of termination) and will likely also touch upon changes to the formation of unions under the Labour Relations Act.

While still in its preliminary stages, the eventual recommendations and changes that will arise out of the Changing Workplaces Review are likely to have a significant impact on workplaces across Ontario.  These changes would be in addition to other recent changes to Ontario’s employment and labour laws which we have written about herehere and here.