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What the "Making Ontario Open for Business Act" means for you

Publish date: Thursday, October 25, 2018 update

AMAPCEO

With the introduction of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, Ontario’s government is proposing changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act. Many of these changes undo the hard-fought improvements passed with Bill 148: the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act of the previous legislature and will affect some of the most vulnerable workers in our society.  While most of the proposed changes will not impact AMAPCEO members, here are some that we are reviewing:
 
Scheduling, on-call pay:  The legislation proposes repealing scheduling provisions that were to come into force on January 1, including the right to request changes to schedule or work location after an employee has been employed for at least three months; minimum of three hours’ pay for being on-call if the employee is available for work but is not called in to work or works less than three hours; right to refuse requests or demands to work or to be on-call on a day that an employee is not scheduled to work or be on-call with less than 96 hours’ notice; and three hours’ pay in the event of cancellation of a scheduled shift or an on-call shift within 48 hours before the shift was to begin.  AMAPCEO was planning on-call and overtime disputes based on the January 2019 changes and will now need to review them in light of the repeal.
 
Personal Emergency Leave: The legislation removes the two paid personal emergency leave days and replaces them with an inferior system of unpaid annual leave days, including three unpaid days for personal illness; two unpaid days for bereavement, and three unpaid days for family responsibilities.  When this passes, AMAPCEO members will lose the two paid personal emergency leave days and will be able to use the new unpaid days if they wish. 
 
Medical Notes: The legislation will repeal the provision that prohibits employers from requiring an employee to provide a medical note, enabling employers to require evidence of entitlement to the leave that is considered reasonable (e.g., a note from a qualified health practitioner).  The OPS Employer had already taken the position that it would continue to request medical notes for non-personal emergency leave absences, so the impact of this change is mostly a limitation on our ability to press them to harmonize their medical notes approach with the Employment Standards Act requirements that are now being repealed.
 
Public Holiday Pay for Part-Timers: The legislation repeals the averaging public holiday pay formula in Bill 148.  AMAPCEO will review the impact to determine if the Employment Standards Act formula provides a greater or lesser entitlement than our collective agreement provisions for fixed term and part-time employees.
 
Structure of Bargaining Units: New powers are being granted to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to review the structure of bargaining units where the existing units are no longer deemed appropriate for collective bargaining.  We are reviewing the potential implications for AMAPCEO members in the Broader Public Sector. 
 
Amendments to the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act (CECBA): these are considered minor amendments that have no impact on AMAPCEO or its members. 

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in eleven cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; Public Health Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.