Bill 8 – Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 Synopsis of Changes

Bill 8 – Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 had its First Reading on April 29.  Expandable ‘Explanatory notes’ are provided within this First Reading version of the bill.

News release: Ministry of Labour news release, “Changes to employment standards will better protect children, support workers” (April 29, 2019):

Backgrounder: A Backgrounder is provided at the end of the news release.

A high-level synopsis of the significant changes (or not) is as follows:

  1. Temp agencies will need to be licensed (in case any of your businesses use them for staffing).
  2. Collective agreement provisions will need to meet or exceed the ESA requirements to replace (before just had to have a provision in CBA, on assumption that Union would ensure was at least as good).
  3. Employees under 16 (instead of 15) will need the approval of a guardian for light work and director for regular work and under 14 needs director’s permission.
  4. Withholding from wages will be limited to advances, purchase of goods and use or property (no longer good enough that hold back is to meet ‘credit obligation’).
  5. Records will need to be kept for four years instead of two.
  6. Tips must go to employees (i.e. no longer able to charge blanket service charge and keep some for capital improvement or management/owner – unless manager/owner does same work as employees; sharing amongst employees still allowed).
  7. Averaging agreement – no change, unfortunately, so still need to set out a schedule in advance which makes of limited use.
  8. New critical illness or injury leave:
    1. Applicable where “baseline statue of health has changed, and life of family member is at risk, care can be met by family member and family member requires care or support”;
    2. Up to 36 weeks for a child, up to 16 weeks for an adult; and
    3. Unpaid leave to be taken in units of one or more weeks (which means it can be split up which may be challenging for employers to accommodate).
  9. New leave respecting domestic violence:
    1. Unpaid leave to seek medical or social services, or to relocate or seek legal assistance; and
    2. Up to 10 days (in units of one or more days) and up to 15 weeks, in both cases the amount is for each year.
  10. Investigation of complaint process will result in a report to be considered in making a determination.
  11. 12 months to bring complaint (increase from prior 6-month time limit), with discretion of director to allow filing up to 24 months after alleged violation.
  12. Expanded definition of “officer” for liability for compliance.
  13. Director may waive payment of penalty (which is new as penalties are presently mandatory).

Please feel free to contact our Labour + Employment Practice Group if you have any questions about the proposed changes, or how they may affect your business.

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