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Ontario Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Advised on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Tag Archives: Employment Standards Act

Beyond the Final Report: Government of Ontario charts its own course following the Changing Workplaces Review

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

Last week, we reported on the Government of Ontario’s release of the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report, which comprehensively reviewed Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”). Today, the Government of Ontario announced its intention to introduce The Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act, 2017 in response to the 173 recommendations provided by the Final Report.

Notably, the Government of Ontario has proposed several changes that were either not among the recommendations put forward in the Final Report or that substantially diverge from the Final Report’s 173 recommendations, including:

  • Increasing the general minimum wage
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Vacation in Ontario: 10 Things Employers Need to Know

Posted in Employment Standards, vacation

As many employees take time off from work to enjoy the summer months, employers often have questions regarding the calculation of employees’ vacation pay and the scheduling of their vacation time.

To assist provincially-regulated employers in Ontario, we have compiled a list of the ten statutory vacation requirements employers must meet to comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).

  1. The obligation to provide vacation arises upon completion of each “vacation entitlement year”.  An employee becomes entitled to vacation after each 12-month vacation entitlement year, which usually begins on the employee’s hire date. Where the employer establishes
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Employers Should Take Note – The Interim Report on Ontario’s “Changing Workplaces Review” Is Now Available for Comment

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Leaves of Absence, Ministry of Labour

The Interim Report kicks off the next phase of the province-wide consultation on modernizing Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995. Employers should note that August 31, 2016 is the deadline for submissions on the Personal Emergency Leave provisions of the ESA and October 14, 2016 is the deadline for all other submissions.

Just over a year ago, we wrote about the public consultations that were taking place as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) Changing Workplaces Review. This review is part of the MOL’s broader mandate to modernize employment and labour laws in an … Continue Reading

Are the Tides Finally Turning? Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds Termination Provision Providing Only for “Notice” Under the ESA

Posted in Contractual Termination Provisions, Employment Agreements, Employment Standards, Termination

In a recent case, Oudin v Centre Francophone de Toronto (“Oudin”), the Ontario Court of Appeal has offered potential relief to employers whose contractual termination provisions provide an employee with only his or her minimum “notice” entitlement under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).

The State of the Law Prior to Oudin

As a general principle, if an employer wants to limit an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause termination to the minimums established by the ESA, the contractual provision must ensure that the employee will be provided with at least their ESA minimum entitlements to notice, … Continue Reading

New Paid and Unpaid Leaves Proposed for Ontario Employees

Posted in Accommodation, Accommodation, Leaves of Absence, Occupational Health and Safety, Sexual Violence, training

Last month, the Government of Ontario introduced two bills which would provide for new leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 as well as new training obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Leave proposed for grieving parents

On March 8, 2016, the Government introduced Bill 175, Jonathan’s Law (Employee Leave of Absence When Child Dies), 2016. Under Bill 175, an employee who has been employed by his or her employer for at least six consecutive months will be entitled to a leave of absence without pay of up to 52 weeks if a child of the … Continue Reading

Ministry of Labour Compliance Blitz – The Results are In

Posted in Employment Standards, Hours of Work, Investigations, Ministry of Labour, Overtime, Pay, Wage and Hours

Last year’s Ontario Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) compliance blitz reveals that employers are having difficulty maintaining basic employment standards. From May 1 to July 31, 2015, the MOL conducted a series of workplace inspections which focused on compliance with core elements of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). The inspections targeted mainly sectors that employ “vulnerable or precarious workers” where the nature of employment is seasonal, part-time or temporary. The results do not trend well:

  • Of the 304 workplace inspections conducted by the Ministry, 232 (or 76%) employers were found not compliant with the ESA.
  • Over $361,000 was
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Brace yourself, more changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws likely to come

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Policies

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:… Continue Reading

Terminated for Tweeting: A Tale of Two Toronto Firefighters

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Social Media, Termination

When used properly, social media can be a powerful tool for connecting individuals, marketing businesses and mobilizing the masses behind a cause.   However, many organizations have learned the hard way that inappropriate social media use by employees  can have a detrimental effect on an organization’s reputation.… Continue Reading

Ontario Government Makes Major Changes to Workplace Laws

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation

Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, has received royal assent and is now the law.  As we have previously reported, this Bill significantly amends workplace laws, including the Employment Sandards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”)

Some of the major changes include:

  • Linking minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index. The Government would publish the new minimum wage arising from the formula by April 1st of each year.
  • Eliminating the $10,000 cap on claims for unpaid
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A Reminder to Update Your Policies for Three New Job-Protected Leaves for Families

Posted in Employment Standards, Leaves of Absence

 

We wanted to send out a reminder that as of October 29, 2014, employees in Ontario are entitled to three new job-protected leaves (in addition to any entitlement to any other leave under the Employment Standards Act). These new leaves are:

  • Family Caregiver Leave;
  • Critically Ill Child Care Leave; and
  • Crime-Related Death or Disappearance Leave.

We provided a summary of these new leaves earlier this year.

If it has not been done already, employer’s should review their existing policies, procedures and collective agreements as soon as possible to incorporate these new leaves into the workplace.  If you have … Continue Reading

Ministry of Labour Goes After Unpaid Internships

Posted in Employment Standards, Interns, Wage and Hours

Lately, unpaid interns have been on the Ministry of Labour’s radar.  In June 2013 a policy statement was published which reminded employers that most unpaid internships run afoul of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).  I wrote about this policy statement in a previous post.

In April 2014, arising out of a few high profile incidents involving the Walrus and Toronto Life magazine, the Ministry announced an enforcement “blitz” meant to determine whether unpaid interns in certain sectors of the economy were truly “interns” and therefore exempt from the ESA.  The results of that “blitz” have now been publishedContinue Reading

Ministry of Labour “Rings Up” $240,000 from Retail Inspection Blitz

Posted in Employment Standards, Investigations, Policies, Wage and Hours

A Ministry of Labour (“Ministry”) inspection is never a pleasant experience for employers. Ministry inspectors have very broad powers to enter the workplace and inspect company documents to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) or the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). Sometimes these inspections are random.  Sometimes they are initiated by an employee/union complaint. Most of the time, an employer is not aware or ready for an inspection.

Even though the Ministry has these powers, sometimes even a management lawyer has to give them credit. I say this because recently the Ministry of Labour has been … Continue Reading

Ontario Government Proposes Major Changes to Workplace Legislation

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Unions, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation

On December 4, 2013, the Ontario government introduced Bill 146, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2013. Bill 146 implements some of the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission of Ontario that submitted a report on vulnerable workers.

Although the bill has just been introduced, if it passes through the legislature and then receives royal assent, it will have a significant impact on workplace regulation in Ontario. Some of the key proposed changes (which are summarized in detail here) include the following:… Continue Reading

An Employer’s Obligations During Flu Season

Posted in Employment Standards, Human Rights, Leaves of Absence, Occupational Health and Safety

The weather is getting colder, the holidays are approaching and flu season is soon to be upon us.  That means sick employees forced to miss work. Besides ensuring that productivity does not suffer, employers also need to be cognizant of their legal obligations towards their employees during flu season.  Here are a few important points to keep in mind:… Continue Reading

The Ministry of Labour is Coming for Retailers: 5 Common ESA Violations

Posted in Benefits, Compensation, Pensions, Employment Standards, Leaves of Absence, Wage and Hours

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) conducts inspections to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). The MOL targets employers in (as they put it) “sectors where there is a history of employment standards violations and where vulnerable workers are employed.” Thankfully, at least the MOL announces the targeted sector so that employers can prepare. This time, the target is the retail industry.

The “blitz” (as the MOL terms it) will take place from October – December 2013 and will deal with such issues as record keeping, deductions from pay, hours of work, eating periods, overtime pay, minimum wage, … Continue Reading

Overtime Exempt or Non-Exempt? Issue May Be Certified as a Class Action

Posted in Employment Standards, Litigation, Wage and Hours

In a very important decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Rosen v. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. has certified a class action launched by investment advisers (IAs) at BMO Nesbitt Burns (BMO) for overtime pay. While this is not the first overtime class action to be certified in Ontario, it is noteworthy given that the issue involves the alleged misclassification of the IAs as managers or as otherwise exempt from overtime under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).… Continue Reading

Careful How you Classify “Interns” – MOL Releases Policy Statement

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

It is a fact of life for some entering the labour market – the unpaid internship. For young workers, it is an opportunity to gain experience in a desired field.  For employers, it is an opportunity to have recent graduates perform necessary work or apprenticeship at less cost all while assessing suitability for continued employment. Perhaps the modern internship is best explained by the following:

 … Continue Reading

Employee Notice Period Greater than Length of Service!

Posted in Damages, Employment Standards, Just Cause, Litigation, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

Like many management side labour lawyers, I often advise employers and their human resources professionals on the appropriate amount of notice or termination/severance pay an employee should receive upon dismissal without cause. I often remark that there is no “rule of thumb” or formulaic approach. Instead, in determining an employee’s notice period at common-law, the Courts have listed a number of factors to consider, including an employee’s age, length of service, position, compensation and the availability of comparable employment. While the application of these factors provides some guidance (e.g. junior/younger employees are generally entitled to less notice than more tenured/older … Continue Reading

Deducting Overpayments from Wages

Posted in Employment Standards, Wage and Hours

The Ministry of Labour has recently come out with an animated (and fairly entertaining) video on employee deductions titled Illegal Deductions from Wages.

The MOL stresses that deductions from employee wages are not allowed except in “specific circumstances”.  While this is helpful in reinforcing the general rule that deductions from employee pay are generally restricted under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), it is important to remember what these “specific circumstances” entail.… Continue Reading

47 Recommendations on Employment Standards and Health and Safety

Posted in Accommodation, Employment Standards, Human Rights, Occupational Health and Safety, Wage and Hours

On April 3, 2013, the Law Reform Commission of Ontario released a report (all 176 pages), Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work: Final Report – December 2012.  The report is, in essence, a policy-heavy document reflecting the Commission’s views on how the Ontario government can better “respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable workers.” The Commission came up with a list of 47 “recommendations” dealing with legislative and policy reform of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

What is striking about the report (and what employers should be concerned about) is that … Continue Reading

Ontario Government Introduces Leaves for Caregivers

Posted in Accommodation, Family Status, Human Rights

On March 5, 2013, new Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi introduced Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013 (Bill 21). If passed, Bill 21 would create three new unpaid leaves of absence under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA): Family Caregiver Leave, Critically Ill Child Care Leave and Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave. As previously reported, the Government introduced similar amendments to those proposed in the Family Caregiver Leave section in the former Bill 30. Bill 30 died on the order paper with the prorogation of the Ontario legislature in October 2012.… Continue Reading