Toronto employment lawyer Doug MacLeod comments on the Ontario Liberal government's introduction of employee friendly labour laws

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On November 6, 2014 Bill 18 received third reading at the Ontario legislature. If passed, this Bill will bring significant changes to Ontario's employment laws that are positive for employees.

Douglas MacLeod - MacLeod Law Firm

I believe Bill 18 is a precursor to additional employee friendly employment laws

On November 6, 2014, Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 received third reading at the Ontario legislature.

“This Bill is extremely employee friendly” opines Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod law Firm.

“As long as Consumer Price Index increases, Ontario’s minimum wage will start automatically increasing every year on October 1st starting in 2015.” says MacLeod who limits his law practice to employment law.

“Employee’s currently can only claim for up to $10,000 in damages under the Employment Standards Act however when the Bill is passed into law employees will be able to claim unlimited damages” states MacLeod. “ As a result in this change in the law, I expect that more employees will start filing no cost complaints for termination pay with the Ministry of Labour instead of starting expensive wrongful dismissal actions in the courts.”

MacLeod who has been advising Ontario employers for over 25 years notes that a change to the definition of “worker” under the Occupational Health & Safety Act could significantly impact some employers. “Co-op students, interns and volunteers will be considered workers under OHSA when the Bill take effects and employers will therefore be required to spend more resources on these unpaid employees. For example, these individuals must receive mandatory health and safety training. In addition, a joint health and safety committee is required if there are 20 workers in a workplace and when the Bill is passed into law these individuals will be included in this count. Furthermore an employer could be fined up to $ 500 000 if it fails to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of co-op students, interns and volunteers.”

Employers who use temporary help agencies should be concerned about one section in the Bill says MacLeod. “If this Bill is passed and an employer pays a temporary help agency for an employee and the agency fails to pay the employee then the agency and the employer are jointly and severally liable for the employee’s wages. That’s right; the employer may have to pay the employee’s wages twice.”

Bill 18 is the first major change to Ontario’s employment laws since Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government was elected in June of this year. MacLeod believes that the Bill is a sign of things to come. “I believe Bill 18 is a precursor to additional employee friendly employment laws. For example, I expect Premier Wynn will introduce legislation that will implement a mandatory, partly employer funded, pension plan for private sector employers. This was one of her election promises and I have no reason to believe she will not follow through on this promise.”

The MacLeod Law Firm has advised employers doing business in Ontario, Canada for more than 25 years. MacLeod Law Firm's practice includes preparing employment contracts and human resource policies, advising employers on employee terminations and their obligations under Ontario’s employment laws, defending wrongful dismissal and human rights claims. More information available at http://www.macleodlawfirm.ca

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Nicole Simes

Nicole Simes
Macleod Law Firm
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