In a previous post, we discussed potential changes proposed under the Bill 18, known as the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act. This Bill was passed on November 20, 2014. We have summarized the key changes to Ontario legislation and their effective dates below for easy reference.


Date in Force

Employment Standards Act, 2000
On October 1, 2015, and every year thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted to reflect the changes to the Consumer Price Index. However, where the calculation results in an adjusted decrease to the minimum wage, no adjustment will be made. November 20, 2014
There is no monetary limit on the amount that can be ordered for unpaid wages due to an employee. February 20, 2015, but only until February 20, 2017
Employees will have two years, rather than six months, to claim unpaid wages under the Act. February 20, 2015
Employees may recover vacation pay due over the past twelve, rather than six, months. February 20, 2015, but only until February 20, 2017
Employers must provide each employee with a copy of the most recent poster published by the Minister, within 30 daysof the amendment coming into force or within 30 days of a new employee’s commencement.The employer shall provide the poster in a language other than English upon an employee’s request, if such translation exists. May 20, 2015
An employment standards officer may require an employer to examine its records, practices or both to determine compliance with the Act or regulations, and to report the results, including specific information relating to unpaid wages. May 20, 2015
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make additional regulations regarding minimum wage rates payable to certain classes of employees and requiring employers to pay certain amounts when employees work fewer than three hours on a particular day. October 1, 2015
If an employee is assigned to work for the client of a temporary help agency, both the agency and client should record the number of hours worked and retain the required records for three years. November 20, 2015
If an employee is assigned to perform work for a client or clients of a temporary help agency, the agency and client(s) are jointly and severally liable for any unpaid wagesowing to the employee.These wages include regular wages, overtime pay, public holiday pay, and premium pay earned during the period.Employees do not have to exhaust proceedings against the agency before seeking to collect wages from the client(s). November 20, 2015
The sections of the Act dealing with the recovery of vacation pay, repeated contraventions of the Act by employers, and complaints from different employees will eventually be repealed. February 20, 2017
Occupational Health and  Safety Act
The term “worker” now includes:

  • secondary school students in work experience programs;
  • a person who provides unpaid work or services under a program by a college, university or other post-secondary institution;
  • a person who receives training but is not yet an employee under the ESA; and
  • other persons who perform work or supply services without monetary compensation.
November 20, 2014
Labour Relations Act, 1995
In the construction industry, the “open period” during which a new union may apply to represent an existing bargaining unit, or employees may apply for decertification of the existing union, will be reduced from three months to two months. May 20, 2015
Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009
The Act applies to every foreign national who is employed or looking for employment in Ontario, employers and recruiters of foreign nationals, and any person who acts on behalf of an employer or recruiter of foreign nationals. November 20, 2015
The Director may prepare and publish different documents for different categories of foreign nationals and their employers. November 20, 2015
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations allowing an employer to recover certain costs from a foreign national or class of foreign nationals, and may require an employer to provide notice regarding the employment or termination of employment of a foreign national. November 20, 2015
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
Regarding employees who sustain injuries while working for the client of a temporary help agency, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make additional regulations defining a “temporary help agency,” requiring the Board to take certain actions, requiring the client to notify the Board of the injury, and prescribing penalties for clients who fail to notify the Board. On a date to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

 Many thanks to Jennifer Bernardo for her assistance in drafting the blog.