Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Is Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 on your Board meeting Agenda? If you are an Ontario employer, in the not for profit sector or the private sector, it should be. Client Centered Boards ® will be having a discussion around how to best serve their clients, faced with the costs associated with Bill 148. Boards and leaders of small not for profit agencies are particularly concerned.


Below are some highlights which could help generate your Board meeting discussion, and have some questions prepared for your CEO, HR and/or legal team.(1)

  1. Minimum hourly rate: up from $11.60 to $14 / hr in January 2018, and $15 Jan. 2019. Pay is subject to an annual inflation adjustment on October 1 of every year starting in 2019.  (2) Wage hike will apply to approx. 1.46 million Ontarians.
  2. Equal pay for casual, seasonal, temp and part-time workers performing the same functions as full-time employees. There are exemptions based on seniority and merit.
  3. All workers will be entitled to 10 personal emergency leave days. This includes a minimum of 2 paid sick days.
  4. After 5 years, all employees will be entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation.
  5. Victims of violence (domestic or sexual), and parents of children who have experienced or are threatened with violence as noted, are entitled to 5 days of paid leave plus 17 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave.
  6. Employers can no longer request a sick note from an employee who takes personal emergency leave.
  7. Parents faced with the death of a child will get unpaid leave up to 104 weeks.
  8. Family Medical Leave will be extended to 28 weeks, and will apply to all critically ill family members, not just children.
  9. Employees will receive 3 hours of wages if their shift is cancelled with fewer than 48 hours notice, with weather-dependent work exempted.
  10. Employees can refuse a shift without penalty if less than 4 days notice is received from the employer.
  11. Employees on call will be paid 3 hours at their regular pay rate.
  12. Employers classifying workers as "independent contractors" instead of employees in order to skirt labour law requirements are subject to fines.
  13. Fines for employers who violate employment standards laws will be increased to $350, $700 and $1,500. Company names of those who are fined will be published. Maximum fines under the Labour Relations Act will increase for individuals and organizations to $5,000 and $100,000.
  14. Restrictions on union certification are eased. Unions are allowed to access employee lists and certain contact data, if the support of 20 per cent of employees can be proven. It will be easier for home care and community services workers, as well as people in the building services sector, and temp agency staff to unionize.
  15. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employer shall not require a worker to wear footwear with an elevated heel unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely (subject to certain exceptions).

Helpful links

Bill 148:

Help for Business sector:

Help for Child Care sector:


(1) This post is to generate discussion only and is not intended to be legal, human resource or other professional advice. Please see our full disclaimer at

(2) The minimum wage for employees who serve liquor now applies only if the employee also regularly receives tips or other gratuities from their work.

NEXT BOARD EDUCATION DAY - The next public (Sudbury) Client Centered Governance (R) Seminar will be held in APRIL 2018. There are also 3 dates available to bring the Board Education day to your Ontario location, available between Jan 1 and April 1 2018. Contact us and we will be pleased to answer your questions.

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