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Government Relations
Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017

In June 2017, the Ontario Government passed first reading of legislation (Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act) to increase minimum wage to $15 and make other changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) & Labour Relations Act (LRA). The proposed changes will have detrimental impacts to Ontario’s hospitality industry, including operators of small businesses.

What is in Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act?

Minimum Wage Increase:  Included in the Bill 148 announcement was the increase to minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018 and  $15 on January 1, 2019. This is a 32% increase within an 18 month period which came as a shock to many hospitality industry operators who do not have enough time to plan and phase in this increase. About 30 per cent of Ontario workers currently make less than $15 an hour.

The special minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under 18, will be maintained, and will increase by the same percentage as the general minimum wage.

Subsequent minimum wage increases after January 1, 2019 would continue to be tied to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index, providing reliable annual increases for workers and predictability for businesses. 

Equal Pay: Wynne announced that under Bill 148 part-time workers will get “equal pay” for undertaking work equal to full-time staff.

Vacation: Bill 148 proposes changes to the minimum vacation entitlement. Minimum vacation entitlement will increase to three weeks of paid vacation (from two weeks) after being employed after five years.

Scheduling:  Bill 148 also included provisions for scheduling including making employers pay three hours of wages if a shift is cancelled with fewer than 48 hours notice.

Personal Emergency Leave: Bill 148 proposes an increase of personal emergency days, raising the number of days to 10 days of personal emergency leave each year, two of them paid.

Unionization:  Bill 148 did not include joint employer or provisions that specifically target the franchise industry or franchise business model. Although franchising specifically was not targeted, the government's proposals do contain a number of provisions which will have an impact on Ontario businesses. Those include: Card check certification for the building services sector, home care, and community services industry (CFA will reach out to these segments of our membership separately)

Enforcement: According to Premier Wynne, enforcement is key to making this work, therefore, the government will be appointing enforcement officers. 

Bill 148: Final Clause by Clause Consideration 

On Tuesday November 14th, 2017, the Minister of Finance is scheduled to release Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement, which is to contain policy measures that will assist Ontario’s hospitality industry while addressing the unprecedented minimum wage increases scheduled in Bill 148. ORHMA believes that these policy measures will not be sufficient to ease the burden of new costly measures that are being imposed on the hospitality industry. Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 will be given clause by clause consideration on November 16th, 2017 by the Standing committee on Finance & Economic Affairs. Clause by clause sitting is not open for deputation. ORHMA does not anticipate significant changes as the committee appeared to be going through the motions of process as oppose to adapting any new suggested amendments.

When Will Bill 148 Become Law?

The entire Bill will be proclaimed immediately upon Royal Assent (which we anticipate before the end of December); however there are a few sections of the Act coming into force on dates.

Bill 148 will come into effect on January 1, 2018, including: the misclassification provisions, coming into force immediately. There are several exceptions to this effective date: the equal pay provisions will come into force on April 1, 2018 and the scheduling provisions will come into force on January 1, 2019 or in the case of unionized environments, certain provisions would not take effect until the earlier of the expiry of a collective agreement and January 1, 2020.  For more details, click here.

ORHMA has taken action to protect your business with strong advocacy:
• Outreach to all members of the Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs through meetings; letters; deputation and submission.
• Outreach with Premier, Cabinet – meetings; letters and ongoing dialogue with Advisors.
• Financial contribution to the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Economic Analysis.
• ORHMA Membership Alerts, updates in our weekly Insider.
• ORHMA engaging members – providing members with contacts, letters, key messages.
• News Releases, social media outreach.

The Provincial Government has turned a blind eye to all economic analysis conducted on Bill 148 . We have and continue to advocate for our hospitality industry however, much our effort has fallen on deaf ears as the government truly believes this is the right thing to do politically.

We urge you and your hospitality business to prepare for implementation of Bill 148. For more information on how to prepare, click here.   Minimum wage will increase dramatically from $11.40 to $14.00 on January 1, 2018 and then to $15.00 by 2019.  The proposals include wage exceptions for specific classes of workers, including servers and students, consequently Bill 148 ensures all wages will increase together. Subsequent minimum wage increases after January 1, 2019 would continue to be tied to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index, providing reliable annual increases for workers and predictability for businesses.  

Minimum Wage Categories Current (as of Oct 1, 2017)  to Dec. 31, 2017 Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018 Jan 1 2019 to Sept. 30, 2019
General Minimum Wage
Students under 18 who work not more than 28 hours per week when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays 

Liquor Servers 

 ORHMA’s Effective Advocacy:

On Friday July 21, Tony Elenis, President & CEO of ORHMA represented Ontario’s hospitality industry at the Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs hearings on Bill 148. Included in the written submission from ORHMA to the Standing Committee are the impacts of a $15 minimum wage in Ontario, recommendations to offset the costs that may arise with a higher minimum wage as well as Ontario’s hospitality performance in comparison to other jurisdictions. To read the full Q&A of Standing Committee, click here. 

ORHMA Business Collaboration:

ORHMA & Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations work together through the Keep Ontario Working coalition, an initiative to motivate employers and employees alike to take a more active interest in Bill 148 and ensure that we are improving legislation to support workers’ rights and a prosperous economy.  Together, we financed an economic analysis, anticipated to be completed by August 2017. The province would not complete this necessary analysis.  ORHMA is active and advocating to protect employers. Members can visit   


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