Ontario Looks to Roll out More Changes to Workplace Legislation with Bill 66

On December 6, 2018, the Ontario government introduced Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 (Bill 66). Bill 66 proposes changes to, among other things, Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).

Bill 66 follows Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, which received royal assent on November 21, 2018 and will bring about significant changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws. Details relating to Bill 47 can be found in our November 2018 Blakes Bulletin: Ontario Passes Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.

Below is an overview of the changes that Bill 66 proposes to the ESA.

Eliminating Need for Approval of the Director of Employment Standards: If passed, Bill 66 will eliminate the requirement for employers to obtain approval from the Director of Employment Standards in order to (i) enter into agreements to allow employees to work weekly hours in excess of 48 hours, and (ii) enter into overtime averaging agreements.

Overtime Averaging Agreements: If passed, Bill 66 will allow employers to enter into agreements with employees to average hours of work for periods of up to four weeks in order to determine entitlement to overtime pay. As noted above, approval from the Director of Employment Standards will not be required. Overtime averaging agreements will need to specify a start date and an expiry date. For non-unionized employees, the expiry date will need to be within two years of the start date. For unionized employees, the agreement will need to expire no later than the date on which a subsequent collective bargaining agreement comes into operation. Existing overtime averaging agreements that have been approved will continue to be valid until they are revoked or expire.

ESA Poster: Bill 66 proposes to remove the obligation for employers to post in the workplace a poster setting out information about the ESA and its Regulations. Employers will continue to be required to provide a copy of the poster with this information to their employees.

Bill 66 has passed first reading in the Ontario legislature, but is not yet law. We will keep you apprised of further updates.

For further information, please contact:

Daryl Cukierman                        416-863-2585
Alysha Sharma                          416-863-2451

or any other member of our Employment & Labour group.

Blakes and Blakes Business Class communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue.

We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.

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