Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 was recently introduced in the Ontario Legislature (“Bill 66”). Bill 66—as the name suggests—aims to make Ontario more competitive by reducing regulatory burden and giving businesses more flexibility.
Bill 66 proposes to make the following changes to existing legislation:
- Excess Hours of Work and Overtime Averaging Applications: Bill 66 proposes to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) to no longer require approval from the Director of Employment Standards of an application for excess hours of work and overtime averaging.
Employers would still be required to enter into written agreements with employees to have employees work excess hours and to average overtime hours worked. Additionally, employers can only average an employee’s hours of work for the purposes of calculating overtime pay over a maximum of four (4) weeks.
- ESA Poster: Bill 66 proposes to remove the requirement for employers to provide both the ESA poster to employees and post it in the workplace. Employers will only have to provide the most recent version of the ESA poster to the employees.
- “Non-Construction Employers”: Public bodies, including municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, will be deemed “non-construction employers” through an amendment to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”).
This proposed amendment to the LRA will help to prevent certain broader public sector entities from becoming bound to collective agreements for the construction industry, when these entities are not actually in the construction business.
- Merging Pension Plans: The Pension Benefits Act will be amended to make it easier for private-sector employers to merge single-employer pension plans with jointly sponsored pension plans.
- Exemption from Guardrail Requirements for the Auto Sector: For assembly lines, there will be a new, targeted exemption from guardrail requirements for a conveyor and raised platform.
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulation: This proposed amendment to WHMIS regulations would allow new labels to be placed on old containers, preventing the need to dispose of chemicals with old labels. By removing the need to re-purchase newly labeled chemicals unnecessarily, this would result in saving Ontario universities an estimated $60.2 million to $107.9 million.
Bill 66 was introduced and carried first reading on December 6, 2018. As Bill 66 progresses through the legislature, the proposed amendments may change and new amendments may be put forth. We will continue to keep you updated.
The author would like to thank Jonathan Meyer for his assistance with this blog.