What Happened to Ontario’s Bill 148 and Bill 8?

November 26, 2018
4 min read

Over the last year, the Ontario elevator industry has been faced with the threat of numerous regulations that would drastically effect how they do business. First, Bill 148 was proposed and set to become a law in January 2019. Next, Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act was ratified and set to come into force on a date to be decided upon in the near future. So what happened to Bill 148 and Bill 8?

Bill 148 officially collapses as Bill 47, The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 becomes a law

Bill 148 was introduced by the Liberal government as part of Ontario’s labour and employment laws. It was set to become a law on January 1, 2019, leaving Ontario elevator contractors to face yet another challenge. Bill 148 called for mandatory minimum 3-hour labour standby time and would have traumatic financial implications for elevator contractors in Ontario. Non-union contractors in Ontario would face increased cost if this legislation stayed in place. CECA was concerned that this issue could flow over to the union sector at a later date and eventually to the other provinces. They recommended hiring a lobbyist to fight for an exemption from this standby clause.

However, on November 21, 2018, Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, quickly passed third reading and received royal assent. Although Bill 47 preserves certain Bill 148 amendments, it repeals many Bill 148 reforms, including those respecting paid personal emergency leave, planned increases to the minimum wage, and enhanced employee rights with respect to shift scheduling.

Bill 47’s amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) will come into force on January 1, 2019, while the changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the LRA) take effect immediately.

Highlights of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act include:

1.      Employment Standards Act.
Minimum Wage: Minimum wage to remain at $14.00/hour, at least until October 2020. Further increases in minimum wage to start October 2020, and will be tied to inflation.

Scheduling: Most of the new scheduling provision in Bill 148 will be repealed, including the right:

  1. To request changes to schedule or work location after an employee has been employed for at least three months.
  2. To receive a minimum of three hours’ pay for being on-call, if the employee is available to work but is not called in to work, or works less than three hours.
  3.  To refuse requests or demands to work or to be on-call on a day that an employee is not scheduled to work or to be on-call with less than 96 hours’ notice.
  4. To receive three hours’ pay if a scheduled shift or an on-call shift is cancelled within 48 hours before the shift was to begin.
  5. The obligation to keep records relating to these issues.

“Three Hour Rule”: The “Three Hour Rule” will be modified such that where an employee who regularly works more than three hours per day is required to report to work, but works less than three hours, the employee will be paid for three hours.

Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act seems to have broken down as no enforcement date set

Bill 8, Access to Consumer Credit Reports and Elevator Availability Act was given Royal Assent in May, officially becoming a law just weeks before the Liberal government was voted out and the PC government took over.  The bill called for existing maintenance requirements to be further policed; for elevator performance data to be made available to prospective multi-residential home buyers and renters; and for new standards to be created for how much elevator capacity is required in new high-rise buildings. It also proposed to create a timeframe within which contractors had to fix out of service elevators. That Bill has yet to move forward and there’s no word from official sources on when – or if –  that law will ever surface again. The law was written to come into force on a date to be decided upon in the near future. However, the new PC government has not proclaimed it, or set a date.

The PC government had this to say:

“We understand there are serious concerns regarding elevator availability across the province. We are working with ministry officials, TSSA and industry to better understand the cause and the policy options available so we can address these issues in an appropriate, enforceable and effective way.”

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