Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, announced today during question period that his government will be “getting rid of Bill 148”. The Premier pinpointed Bill 148 as the root cause of Ontario’s recent economic difficulties which have resulted in the loss of 60,000 jobs across the province. As most In the Know readers are aware, Bill 148 was passed into law in late 2017 by the former Liberal government and introduced a sweeping set of changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws, including the January 2018 increase to the minimum wage from $11.40 / hour to $14 / hour. Before today’s announcement, the Ford government had already announced that the planned, subsequent increase of the minimum wage to $15 in January 2019 has been indefinitely frozen. It now appears that the remainder of Bill 148’s reforms will be under scrutiny as well.
The Premier’s comment was immediately clarified by Jim Wilson, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, who said that the government is in the process of consulting on potential changes to Bill 148’s reforms but that no final decisions have been made. When asked if there were parts of Bill 148 the new government would keep, the Minister responded that the $14 minimum wage would remain in place and that Ontarians will not lose their entitlement to sick days, though he would not comment on whether any of those days would continue to be paid. More broadly, Wilson noted that all of Bill 148 is currently being reviewed and that some parts of Bill 148 would be repealed.
While the Premier’s comment that the government would get rid of Bill 148 appears to have been exaggerated, it is now clear that other parts of Bill 148, other than the second minimum wage jump to $15, will be repealed. As a result, employers that are currently in the process of preparing for the significant changes to employee scheduling rights that are slated to come into force in January 2019 should consider holding off on finalizing those plans until the government announces more concrete plans.
As always, we will provide further updates about the fate of Bill 148 as they are announced.
This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.