Bill 148 introduced certain changes to Ontario labour laws that small business owners should know about. The original article in our series covered some – here are 5 more.

While most are aware that the minimum wage in Ontario increased to $14, there were several other changes that Bill 148—the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act—introduced to Ontario labour laws small business owners should know. We covered some of these changes in our previous article (link to previous article) about Ontario’s new labour laws, but here’s another brief overview of some other changes that came with the bill and how they can affect small businesses.

1. Notice for temporary workers

If temporary workers are on an assignment that is projected to last longer than three months, they should receive at least one week’s notice if the assignment is to end early. If temporary workers don’t receive notice, they are eligible to receive payment for the assignment regardless of duration.

2. New scheduling times

There are several new scheduling rules included in the bill that employers will need to adhere to, including:

  • Employees can request changes to their work schedule following three months of employment without concern regarding retribution
  • Employers are required to maintain records of the times and dates employees are scheduled to work, along with any schedule changes
  • If employers assign shifts with less than 96 hours’ notice, employees are permitted to refuse these shifts without repercussion

 3. No sick notes required

Employers can no longer request a doctor’s note when employees call in sick. The reason for this is that workers often go into work while sick to hand employers a doctor’s note, which hinders the employee’s ability to recover and puts others in the workplace at risk of falling ill. Eliminating the need for doctor’s notes also enables doctors to focus on other patients who are in need of care, reducing the need to complete paperwork for minor illnesses.

4. More personal leave

Companies will be required to offer paid personal emergency leave. In the past, only companies with more than 50 employees needed to provide emergency leave. Workers will receive 10 personal emergency days on an annual basis, the first two of which are paid. Employees can also gain new or increased leaves pertaining to family medical emergencies, domestic or sexual assault, a child’s disappearance or death, pregnancy leave following stillbirth or miscarriage, and other emergencies.

5. No mandatory high heels

Employers will no longer be able to make a mandatory part of dress codes in the workplace unless they are needed to maintain a safe work environment or for wardrobes in the entertainment industry.

These are simply some of the more obvious changes to Ontario labour laws that can affect small business owners. If you’re ready to consider small business consulting services to help ensure compliance, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

E&E Professional Accountants has years of experience in assisting businesses with their accounting needs. We are founded and managed by an experienced corporate auditor and a former CRA tax auditor. Feel free to contact us for assistance with all your accounting and bookkeeping needs.


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