“Good News” Legislation for Employers Passes: What You Need to Know About Bill 66

As we have previously reported, the changes contemplated by the Ontario Government have just recently become law. Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, received Royal Assent on April 3, 2019.

Bill 66, now passed, has instituted several changes notable to employers:

Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”):

The following ESA amendments came into force on April 3, 2019:

  • No Longer the Need to Post the ESA Posters: Employers will no longer be required to post the ESA posters in their workplace, however, they are still required to provide the ESA poster to employees.
  • Director Approval No Longer Required for Hours of Work Agreements:
    • Employers are no longer required to obtain approval from the Director of Employment Standards when they make a written agreement with an employee to:
      • Work beyond 48 hours in a week; or
      • Average hours over a period of two to four weeks for the purposes of calculating overtime.

Changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”):

  • Changes to the Definition of “Non-Construction Employer”: A new section has been added which deems a number of entities to be “non-construction employers” within the definition of the LRA, including municipalities, certain local and administrative boards, certain local housing, school boards, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public bodies. As a result, construction trade unions that hold bargaining rights with these entities for employees who work in the construction industry would no longer represent those employees. As such, when this section comes into force, these entities would no longer be bound to construction industry collective agreements and any existing agreements would be terminated.
  • Amending the Bargaining Unit: Some of the employers affected by the above-noted amendment may currently have bargaining units composed of both construction and non-construction employees. These employers and affected trade unions may apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to amend or redefine such bargaining units.

Changes to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA):

  • Jointly Sponsored Pension Plans: Schedule 6 of Bill 66 repeals subsection 80.4(1) of the PBA, which has the effect of streamlining transfers of assets and liabilities between single employer pension plans and jointly sponsored pension plans. This change to the PBA came into force on April 3, 2019.

Should you require more information with respect to the impact of this Bill on your workplace, do not hesitate to contact any lawyer in our Ontario Labour and Employment Law Group.

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