Ontario’s New Workplace Laws Have “Negative” Effects

Over the last two years, the Ontario government has pursued the Changing Workplaces Review, a once-in-a-generation assessment of the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act. The outcome of this review will change the relationship between every employee and employer in Ontario.

According to media reports this weekend, the Ontario government is considering measures that will risk many unintended consequences while passing new costs on to consumers. This week, we were told that the provincial cabinet will consider several options including a minimum number of sick days, increasing annual paid vacation and boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

In a letter sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne on behalf of Ontario’s employer community, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce objected in the strongest terms to many of the reforms that are potentially being considered. Taken as a whole, these reforms will tip our economic balance in a profoundly negative way. The changes would further restrict the flexibility of part-time and contract employees, diminish transparency and informed employee choice in the union certification process, and institute “paperwork provision” that will add new layers of red tape to the existing regulatory framework. It is important to remember that good jobs are the direct result of a strong and growing economy.