With the election of a new Government in Ontario, many employers wondered what would become of Bill 148. As we have reported previously, Bill 148 was considered transformational legislation passed by the previous Government aimed at assisting precarious and vulnerable workers, which included such provisions as increasing the minimum wage, increased vacation, paid sick time and equal pay for part time employees performing substantially similar work to full time employees. A few months after the election, and given recent statements to the media, we know that changes are coming.
While there has been no legislation passed by the Government, the Premier has made comments to the media that signal the end of Bill 148, including very directly stating that “We’re getting rid of Bill 148” on October 2, 2018. While other Ministers have not been so stark in their comments, and while it is unlikely that all of Bill 148 will be repealed, it is clear that Bill 148’s days are numbered. For example, there is a high likelihood that the scheduled minimum wage increase to $15.00 / hour effective January 1, 2019 will be cancelled. As well, the 2 paid sick days along with the equal pay provisions for part time employees are likely to be changed. With respect to labour relations, the Government may look at changing the “card” based certification introduced for certain industries (e.g. building services providers) and the new rights that unions have under Bill 148 to request an employee list from an employer upon demonstrating 20% membership support.
Many employers will welcome this news given the increased costs and administrative burdens levied by Bill 148. We will be following the Government’s review of Bill 148 and will provide further updates once the Government begins to enact the expected changes.