Over the past 15 years under a majority liberal government, workplaces in Ontario saw many employment and labour law reforms. Most recently, the liberal government introduced Bill 148 which made significant changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995, among others.
When Ontario went to the polls on June 7th, voters elected a PC majority government. Given this result, Ontarians can expect to see many more changes to employment and labour laws, including changes and rollbacks to those laws introduced under Bill 148. But, what does Doug Ford leading a PC majority government mean for workplaces in Ontario?
As we await the Throne Speech setting out the government’s priorities, it remains unclear how the new PC government will proceed with its employment and labour agenda.
What is certain, however, is Doug Ford’s promise not to follow through with the Liberals’ planned increase to the minimum wage rate, which is set to increase to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019. The PC government will freeze minimum wage at its current rate of $14.00 per hour. This may be history repeating itself after the PC government previously froze minimum wage between 1996 and 2003.
Although Doug Ford has weighed in on freezing minimum wage, he has yet to weigh in on any other employment and labour reforms. Uncertainty will remain until the premier-designate takes office.
Ontarians may also see changes to the Pay Transparency Act, given that the PC government voted against this legislation during the last legislative session. The Pay Transparency Act was introduced by the liberals to increase transparency in hiring processes and to implement pay disclosure measures. The legislation is to come into effect on January 1, 2019, until further notice by the PC majority.
Stay tuned for further updates.