Bill 148: The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act,2017: Find Out How These Changes May Affect You


By: Andrew Mae

Partner, HGR Graham Partners LLP

Email Andrew


On January 1, 2018, many provisions of Bill 148: The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”) came into force. Bill 148 significantly overhauls the Employment Standard Act, 2000, and the Labour Relations Act, 1995, the laws which govern employment in Ontario.

While there are several changes in the detailed legislation that is Bill 148, here are a summary of the top 5 changes as of January 1st, 2018 that you will want to know as an employee and employer:

1. Increased Minimum Wage

Minimum wage has increased. Please refer to the chart below to ensure you are compliant:


Minimum Wage CategoriesJanuary 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018January 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019
General Minimum Wage$14.00 per hour$15.00 per hour
Liquor Servers$12.20 per hour$13.05 per hour
Homeworkers (employees doing paid work in their own home for an employer)$15.40$16.50
Students under 18 who work not more than 28 hours per week when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays$13.15 per hour$14.10 per hour
Hunting and Fishing Guides$70.00: Rate for working less than five consecutive hours in a day

$140.00: Rate for working five or more hours in a day whether or not the hours are consecutive


2. Public Holiday Pay

Effective January 1, 2018, public holiday pay will be calculated by:

Total regular wages earned in pay period immediately preceding the public holiday DIVIDED by the number of days worked in that pay period = Public Holiday Pay

Employers are now required to provide an employee with a written statement that sets out certain information when a day is substituted for a public holiday.


3. Vacation Leave and Vacation Pay

As of January 1, 2018, individuals who have been employed for five (5) or more years with the same employers will be entitled to three (3) weeks vacation per year. Employees with less than five (5) years service will continue to be entitled to two (2) weeks vacation.

4. Personal Emergency Leave

Employees are now entitled to two paid days of personal emergency leave. Employers retain the right to require evidence of entitlement to these days but are not permitted to require a certificate from a qualified health practitioner.

5. Parental Leave

As of January 1, 2018, employees who experience a still-birth or miscarriage will now be entitled to 12 weeks after the pregnancy loss happens. The entitlement to six weeks pregnancy leave in certain circumstances has increased to 12 weeks. Parental leave will increase from 35 weeks to 61 weeks for employees who took a pregnancy leave and from 37 to 63 weeks for employees who did not.


There are several other changes that Bill 148 brings into force. For more information on how this may affect your businesses’ employment contracts or you as an employee, contact a member of Employment Law team.

A quick note about employment contracts.

  • While parties cannot enter into contracts of employment that fall below the minimum standards set by the Employment Standards Act, they may still enter into contracts that remove the employee’s entitlement to severance payments under the common law. An employee’s common law severance entitlement will almost always greatly exceed the minimum standards set by the Act.
  • Employment contracts that limit entitlement under the common law must be carefully drafted to be binding.
  • Employers are recommended to have their template employment contracts reviewed in to increase the possibility of the provisions being binding.


Employees are recommended to have any contract of employment reviewed prior to them accepting its terms and/or when relied upon by the employer at the termination of employment as basis to limit severance and other payments to the employee.

Our employment team acts for both employers and employees and can assist with all aspects of employment law.

*The content in this letter is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion of any kind. HGR Graham Partners LLP does not represent, warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this article. For information on your situation, please contact a member of our employment law team headed by Andrew Mae, who is based at our office in Midland.


Phone:  705.526.2232 ext. 241
Email Andrew

Share This Post: