The Ontario government recently reported that changes to the public holiday provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) introduced by Bill 148 have been the subject of numerous complaints. As a result, the government has announced plans to review the public holiday system. This review will be conducted by the Ministry of Labour and will involve gathering feedback and engaging in discussions with various stakeholders. Stakeholders may send submissions for the Public Holiday Pay Review to exemptions.review@ontario.ca.

As an interim measure, the Ontario government has introduced a new regulation, Ontario Regulation 375/18, which reinstates the previous pre-Bill 148 formula for calculating public holiday pay, effective July 1, 2018. As a result of this change, an employee’s public holiday pay for a given public holiday shall be equal to the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to the employee in the four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.