skip to main content
November 22, 2018

Bill 47 has Passed: Changes to Employment Standards Come into Effect on January 1, 2019

Author Todd Weisberg

On November 21, 2018 Bill 47, the Make Ontario Open for Business Act (“Bill 47”), passed Third Reading and received Royal Assent. This comes quickly on the heels of Bill 47’s first reading, on October 23, 2018 and its second reading on November 12, 2018. Bill 47 has not undergone any significant changes in relation to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) since our first blog post which you can read about here.

There have been some changes made to Bill 47 since first reading in relation to the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”). One change is that the Ontario Labour Relations Board is no longer empowered to review the structure of existing bargaining units on the basis that they are no longer appropriate.

Changes made to the LRA came into effect when Bill 47 received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018. Employers will have a little more time to adapt to changes to the ESA as they are scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2019. Employers seeking to review their policies to ensure they comply with the latest changes should obtain legal advice in advance of January 1, 2019.

Below are some of the key changes Bill 47 will make to employment legislation:

Changes to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”)

  • Personal emergency leave – This leave will be removed in its entirety and replaced by three separate unpaid leaves: sick leave (3 days), family responsibility leave (3 days), and bereavement leave (2 days). The bill also removes the prohibition on employers requesting medical documentation to support entitlement to these leaves.


  • Minimum wage – Instead of increasing to $15.00/hour on January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will stay at $14.00/hour until at least October 2020 when it will be adjusted for inflation.


  • Scheduling – Many of the scheduling changes introduced by Bill 148, which were scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2019, will be repealed, including:
    • the requirement for employers to respond to an employee’s request for changes to their schedule or work location;
    • an employee’s right to refuse a request to work or be on call with less than 96-hours’ notice;
    • the on-call pay provisions; and,
    • the shift cancellation pay provisions.


Please note: under Bill 47 employers will still be required to pay employees who regularly work more than three hours for a minimum of three hours of work even if they work less than three hours.

Changes to the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”)

  • Lists of Employees – Employers will no longer be required to provide employee lists to trade unions who demonstrate at least 20% support in the proposed bargaining unit.


  • Remedial Certification – The pre-Bill 148 test and pre-conditions for the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) to certify a union for employer misconduct will be reinstated.


The foregoing is for informational purposes only, and should in no way be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances and business, please contact any of SOM LLP’s lawyers by email or telephone.

65 Queen Street West, Suite 1800, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2M5
T 416 304 6400 F 416 304 6406