Changes in Ontario Labour Laws: What to Expect in 2018

As an Ontarian worker, you’ve probably heard about Bill 148, or the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Here are the following changes that will take effect this year:

Minimum Wage Increase

Starting January 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario increased to 20%. From the previous minimum of $11.60, it jumped to $14. The wage increase has been welcomed by some, while others consider it to be a plight to the economy. It will increase again in 2019.

Holiday Pay and Paid Vacation

Under the legislation, employees who have been with the employer for at least 5 years are now entitled to three weeks of paid vacation. Meanwhile, those who are with their employers for less than 5 years are still entitled to two weeks of paid vacation. Holiday pays will be calculated using a new formula.

For Temporary Workers

Temporary workers must be given at least two weeks notice if the project that is estimated to last for three months ends early. In the event that the employees did not receive adequate notice, they are entitled to pay in lieu of notice.

For Small Businesses

Small businesses will see their provincial corporate tax rate lowered, from  4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent. This is to provide support for small businesses and help lessen the impact of wage increase so it doesn’t disproportionately affect small businesses.


New rules have been enacted that employers must comply with. Here are some of them:

  • Right to refuse shifts without consequences, if it’s assigned to them with less than 96 hours’ notice
  • Right to request schedule changes or location without employer reprisal  after 3 months of employment
  • Employers must keep records of the schedules of the employees, as well as changes in schedule

If an employee who works regularly for more than three hours and only receives 3 hours of work, they are required to be paid for at least 3 hours. The same rule applies for shifts that are cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice. If the employer fails to provide adequate notice, an employee must be paid for the 3 hours of work for the  cancelled shift. Lastly, on-call workers must be paid by the employer for at least 3 hours of work for every 24 period they are required to be on-call. There are some cases that the 3 hour minimum will not be enforced, especially when the circumstances are beyond the employer’s control, such as power outages and fire.

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