The Ford Government might not have been elected on employment issues but you should expect big changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act in the coming months. Work is one of the most important activities in our lives, taking up ever increasing amounts of our time. So it’s natural that every new government wants to put its stamp on the legislation that determines so much of how, where and when we work.
Doug Ford’ said on election night that “Ontario is open for business”signalling his party’s interest in promoting business interests in the province. Doug Ford has already scrapped cap and trade and cancelled hundreds of green energy contracts. Doing so is aimed at encouraging the growth of industry within the province, however, both decisions will have far-reaching effects for businesses of all sizes and their employees.
The Conservatives are also likely to take aim at Bill 148, which received significant criticism from businesses when it was passed by the Liberals last November. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act put in place several new rules for employers in Ontario including raising the minimum wage, adding equal pay for equal work provisions, rules on misclassifying employees and changes to emergency leave.
Many Ontario business responded with raising prices and cutting employee hours and benefits. The Ford Government will very likely repeal part or all of Bill 148 in favour of policies that favour employers. In the coming months, we should expect to see more Liberal established programs and policies dismantled under Ford’s banner of “open for business.”