The Ontario government recently announced significant changes to Bill 148, labour legislation that had been a concern to Ontario’s fruit, vegetable and greenhouse vegetable growers. The industry felt the bill’s provisions undermined competitiveness, especially against low cost imported produce.
OFVGA noted they’d been working hard to ensure the Ontario government understood the impact of Bill 148 on the Ontario industry, so news that the minimum wage would remain at $14 per hour until 2020 was welcomed. Future increases in the wage will be tied to the rate of inflation.
More good news followed with the government’s ‘Making Ontario Open for Business Act’ and other changes to the Employment Standards Act. Worker scheduling provisions that were to come into force Jan. 1, 2019 have been repealed, including workers’ right to refuse work with less than 96 hours notice. The provision for three hours pay in the event of cancellation of a scheduled shift is also being revised.
In the case of personal emergency leave, every worker will be allowed three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities. Employers can ask for a note regarding personal illness from a medical practitioner.
For public holiday pay, employers will return to the previous pro-rated public holiday pay formula. Other changes include: the onus of determining if a worker is an employee or fee-for-service contractor is being removed from the employer. And repealed is the requirement of equal pay for equal work based on work status (part-time, full-time, casual, temporary).
Farm workers are still exempt from the Labour Relations Act as they are covered by the Agricultural Employees Protection Act.
For more information, go to news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2018/10/open-for-business-removing-burdens-while-protecting