Bill 148: Practical pointers on implementing Ontario's new employment standards

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST

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Daphne Taras

Professor of Labour Relations, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan; Visiting Professor, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto


Tim Lawson

Employer Counsel
McCarthy Tétrault
Gisèle Rivet

Provincial Coordinator, Employment Standards Program
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Anthony Dale

Director, Legal Department


Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, made the most significant changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) in decades. Many of those changes took effect January 1, 2018; others will take effect within the next two years. In this audio session, experts will explain what employers need to do to ensure they are in compliance with those changes, identify the changes that will have the greatest impact on unionized workplaces, and provide practical tips to help employers and unions adapt their practices to take into account these new employment standards.

  • Employee misclassification: In light of the new prohibition on misclassification of workers as "independent contractors," should organizations review their relationships with independent contractors to ensure that they are not really employees? What evidence will an organization require to rebut the new presumption established by s.5.1(2) of the ESA that a worker is an employee and not an independent contractor?
  • Personal emergency leave: Given the new restriction against requiring an employee to provide a medical note to substantiate a claim for personal emergency leave, can employers still request medical notes from employees who take personal emergency leave? Other than a doctor's note, what constitutes "evidence reasonable in the circumstances" that an employee is entitled to a personal emergency leave day? What current contractual entitlements (e.g. sick leave) can be counted to reduce or displace an employee's entitlement to personal emergency leave?
  • Domestic or sexual violence leave: In what circumstances can an employee take domestic violence or sexual violence leave? What evidence can an employer require an employee to provide to substantiate a claim for domestic violence leave? What must employers do to protect the confidentiality of information obtained? What role should unions play in assisting employees to access this leave?
  • Equal pay for equal work: What are the exceptions to the requirement to pay casual, part-time, temporary or seasonal employees the same rate as full-time employees who perform "substantially the same" work? What constitutes work that is "substantially the same"? Who will ultimately be held legally responsible for ensuring that a temporary help agency employee is paid at the same rate as the employees of the agency's client? What effect will the ESA's equal pay for equal work provisions have on collective agreements that calculate seniority based on shifts or hours worked?
  • Scheduling: How do the Bill 148 amendments to the ESA affect employer scheduling practices and scheduling provisions contained in collective agreements? What changes to collective agreement language should unions and employers negotiate to deal with the new employee right to request changes in work schedules or work locations?

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $255. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $155.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

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