Final Report Expected Soon: Changing Workplaces Review

Speaking at a Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce event earlier this month, Ontario’s Labour Minister Kevin Flynn stated that a final report outlining recommendations as part of Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review (the “Review”) will be released sometime in the spring of 2017.

The Review is the first independent review commissioned by the Ontario government in a generation.  It looks at the modern workplace and workforce, including work precarity, standardizing types of employment and employers, and unionization.

 The Interim Report, which was released by the Ontario Ministry of Labour in July 2016, outlined more than 200 options for reforming the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Employment Standards Act, 2000, including the following:

 Sick Pay, Overtime, Vacation Pay, Minimum Wage:

  • Making paid sick days mandatory;
  • Increasing the minimum required paid vacation from two weeks to three weeks per year;
  • Lowering the threshold at which overtime pay must kick in from 44 hours to 40 hours;
  • Abolishing the lower minimum wage for students under 18 and people who serve alcohol; and,
  • Requiring employers to pay their part-time workers the same as full-time workers doing similar jobs.

 Casual and Contract Workers:

  • Requiring employers to post work schedules at least two weeks in advance;
  • Requiring employers to pay employees more for last-minute changes to their work schedules;
  • Requiring employers to obtain workers’ consent before adding hours or shifts after the initial schedule is posted; and,
  • Limiting the proportion of an employer’s workforce that can be from temp agencies.

Comments and submissions relating to the Interim Report were accepted by the Ministry of Labour up until October 14, 2016.  Since that deadline passed, the Ministry has been relatively quiet until now about the status of the Review and when we might expect the release of the special advisors’ final report and recommendations.  C. Michael Mitchell, a Toronto arbitrator and mediator, and John Murray, a retired justice of the Ontario Superior Court, are its special advisors.

Employers and employees, alike, will be very interested to see what the final report looks like, as it may spell seismic changes to the Ontario workplace in the near future.  If you would like to know more, or are experiencing any workplace issues, contact Monkhouse Law today.

About the Author: Miguel Mangalindan is an Employment Lawyer and Senior Associate at Monkhouse Law where he practices Employment, Human Rights and Disability Insurance Law.

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