September 13, 2016

On July 27, following the completion of a public consultation process, the Special Advisors leading Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review released their interim report on modernizing Ontario’s workplace laws. In this special audio session, experts will discuss the legislative options presented in the Advisors’ interim report and comment on possible measures to advance collective bargaining and protect vulnerable workers in precarious employment. Among questions to be discussed:

  • Revising the Employment Standards Act, 2000: Are the current definitions of employer and employee under the ESA sufficiently inclusive? Should existing exclusions or exemptions be repealed? How should the ESA be amended to ensure equal pay for those performing the same work but classified differently (e.g. full-time, part-time, contract, temporary, or casual)? How can predictability in the number and scheduling of hours of work be enhanced? Should employers be held jointly and severally liable with temporary employment agencies for employment standards violations? What should be done to better protect homeworkers and migrant workers from exploitation? What changes should be adopted to increase compliance with the ESA? Is a more proactive approach to enforcement the answer? What should be done to enhance the bargaining rights of non-unionized workers? To protect employees from “fissurization” of the workplace (through franchising, supply chains, etc.)? To correct misclassification of the employment status of workers?
  • Amending the Labour Relations Act, 1995: Should card-based certification be re-introduced in Ontario? Should unions be granted early access to employee lists for the purposes of organizing? Should the Ontario Labour Relations Board be granted the authority to consolidate and/or combine bargaining units? Should the interim relief powers of the Board and arbitrators be expanded? Should the Board’s power to issue remedial certification be enhanced? Should parties be granted automatic access to binding first contract arbitration? Should successor rights be extended to the contract services sector? Should the use of replacement workers during work stoppages be prohibited? Should the Act’s exclusions (e.g. for agricultural workers) be reconsidered? Should the Act be expanded to allow for “broader-based bargaining” (also called sectoral bargaining) to address the difficulties of organizing in the modern labour market?