Bill 66, Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2019
Bill 66, Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2019 (“Bill 66”) received Royal Assent on April 3, 2019. The following key changes have been made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) as a result of the passing of Bill 66:
Posting Obligations – The ESA now requires the Director of Employment Standards to prepare and publish a poster providing information about the ESA and its Regulations. Employers are no longer required to post this poster, but are required to provide their employees with a copy of the most recent poster published by the Director of Employment Standards.
Hours in a Work Week – The ESA previously required that an employer and employee who wished to exceed the maximum hours of work specified in the ESA seek the approval of Director of Employment Standards. That obligation has been removed. Now, an employee’s hours of work may exceed the 48-hour work week limit provided that the employer and employee agree, in writing, to a maximum number of hours that the employee may work per week. The agreement between the employer and the employee in this regard continues to contain proscribed elements which must be included in the agreement in order for it to be valid.
Overtime Averaging – The ESA continues to allow overtime averaging and Bill 66 has simplified this process by again removing the need for an employer to seek the Director of Employment Standards’ approval to average an employee’s hours of work. Now, all that is required in order to enter into an overtime averaging agreement is for the employee and employer to agree that (a) the employee’s hours of work may be averaged over periods of a specified number of weeks, and (b) the averaging period does not exceed four weeks or the number of weeks specified in the agreement, whichever is lower.
In addition to the changes made to the ESA, Bill 66 amends the Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("LRA") so that it will now deem municipalities and certain other employers (i.e. school boards, hospitals, universities, colleges, etc.) to be "non-construction" employers. As a result of this change, the construction sector provisions of the LRA will no longer apply to these "non-construction" employers. Construction trade unions may also lose their representation rights of employees employed with these "non-construction" employers and the applicable provincial collective agreement would no longer apply.