In May, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour commenced what is being called the “Changing Workplaces Review”. The review is intended to take a close look at the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”), with the special advisors making recommendations to the Ontario government. The review has been ordered both to address the significant period of time which has passed since both statutes were enacted, and the changes that have occurred in the workplace and society since then. The special advisors appointed to conduct the review and issue recommendations are Michael Mitchell, a former Toronto partner from employee-side law firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, and the Honourable John Murray, a former judge and former a management-side lawyer.
It is anticipated that the advisors’ report to the government will touch on such things as: (a) the increase in non-standard working relationships (eg. involuntary part-time work, temporary jobs, and self-employment); (b) greater workplace diversity; (c) technological change; and (d) minimum standards under the ESA and LRA. More specifically, and with reference to the questions posed in the government’s Guide to Consultations, it can be expected that the advisors may look at things like: (i) whether there should be more or less (or different) overtime exemptions for different groups of employees; (ii) whether additional types of leaves of absence are recommended; and (iii) whether the notice of termination provisions currently set out under the ESA are sufficient.
Public consultations are being held across the province from June through September, and written submissions can also be provided to the advisors by email, fax or regular mail prior to September 18th. For further details on the dates and locations of public consultations, as well as where to direct written submissions, please click here.