Bill 148 Fair Workplaces Changes: Wages

pink piggy bankLast week I posted about Bill 148. In this post I will discuss some specifics of the proposed changes related to pay. The Bill proposes several changes that will affect how much employees get paid.

Minimum Wage

Perhaps the most wide sweeping change will be the proposed increases to Ontario’s minimum wage. General minimum wage is currently $11.40 per hour and there are different minimum wages for different classes of workers, such as students and servers. Bill 148 proposes increasing the general minimum wage to $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15.00 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Pay rates will also change based on the equal pay for equal work provision of the Bill. These will affect pay for those in more precarious employment positions such as temporary, casual and seasonal employees if they are doing the same job as full-time employees. The same thing goes for employees from temporary help agencies performing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client company.

Practically this means that employees will be able to request a review of their wages if they believe they are being paid differently than full-time or permanent employees. Employers will be required to respond to requests for pay review either with a pay adjustment, or an explanation for the difference. Pay differences will be acceptable if they are based on relevant factors such as seniority, or if pay is determined by another metric such as quantity of production. Reducing the rates of regular employees to bring everyone in line will not be a legal way to comply with this proposed section.

Overtime Pay

This change will apply where an employer has one employee with two different jobs, and where the rates of pay for the two jobs are different. The hours worked in both jobs will be counted towards total weekly hours with respect to the overtime threshold. So for example, let’s say Barb is a pizza delivery person, and also sometimes works in the kitchen. She gets paid a different rate for each job. If Barb works 30 hours in the kitchen and 20 hours delivering pizza she will be entitled to overtime pay for any hour above the threshold, based on the combined hours in both of her jobs. She will be entitled to pay at one and one-half times the regular rate for the work performed during the overtime hours. This change could mean more money going towards wages for small businesses who have employees wearing many hats.


The new scheduling provisions call for minimum pay for shifts under three hours, minimum pay for being on call, and the right to three hours of pay if a shift is cut short or canceled without 48 hours notice. In all of these situations employers will be required to pay the employee for a minimum of three hours, even if they were on call and not called in, were called in for less than three hours, were scheduled for a shift of less than three hours, or had their shift cut short.

Notice Pay for Temporary Help Agency Workers

Employers who hire temps for assignments of three months or more will be required to provide them with one week’s notice or pay in lieu if the assignment is terminated before the end of the estimated term. There is an allowance for mitigation, where notice will not be required if the employee if offered another assignment, lasting at least one week.

I will discuss Scheduling, Leaves & Vacations in my next post.

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