On November 21, 2018, Ontario’s Bill 47 received Royal Assent, becoming law. Many of the provisions under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 will not come into force until January 1, 2019, but that’s coming up quick, and some provisions are already in effect. These tight timelines mean that it’s crucial for organizations to have the right information on what policies need to change.
On June 7, Ontario elected a majority Progressive Conservative provincial government, ending 15 years of Liberal administration in the province. While any new governing party brings legislative changes with it, the PC government led by Doug Ford is expected to be exceptionally different.
To date, 2017 has been a year of change for minimum wage standards in Canada. In an effort to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living, several provinces have responded with commitments to minimum wage increases. So far, both Alberta and Ontario have committed to increasing their minimum wage rates to $15 per hour—Alberta by October 2018 and Ontario by January 2019.
Look out, Ontario—the provincial government has stated its commitment to making significant changes to the province’s employment legislation, and when these changes come about, it’s likely they will affect your workplace.
The new year brought new compliance deadlines for organizations in Ontario, both large and small, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The new set of requirements adds to existing obligations as Ontario moves towards its goal of full accessibility. As always, maintaining compliance is an objective that all organizations in Ontario should strive to achieve. With this newest batch of requirements, updating your organization’s policies and procedures should be achievable with minimal disruption to your operations. Many employers have likely already implemented at least some of the practices that are required by the guidelines, but even for those that are on the ball, it is always a good idea to check the requirements when compliance dates roll around.
The results from the latest employment standards blitzes by the Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors are in, and the report should serve as a wakeup call for employers of young workers (employees under the age of 25) and temporary foreign workers in the province. In May and June of 2016, inspectors conducted 273 inspections of workplaces that employ young workers, and 70 inspections of workplaces that employ temporary foreign workers. The inspections targeted workplaces in key industries, including food services, retail trade, and construction, where significant numbers of young workers and temporary foreign workers are typically employed. While the results are particularly relevant to businesses in these industries, all employers in the province should take note.
As an employer, you can directly affect the prevention of sexual harassment in your workplace. The policies and procedures you have in place, how you enforce them, and the message (or lack thereof) you send about sexual harassment can make big differences in whether your employees take preventing sexual harassment seriously or not. And not only do you have a moral obligation to protect your employees against workplace sexual harassment, it is a legal requirement as well.
Will your company still be compliant once new changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) come into effect on July 1, 2016? These changes will directly affect most businesses in Ontario, so it is a good idea to examine your accessibility policies and procedures now to ensure that they stay in line with the changes to the legislation.
But before you dive in to making changes to your policies and procedures, it is a good idea to understand a little bit about the changes to the legislation.