Employment Law Trends in Ontario

Dec 29, 2015

Employment Law Trends in Ontario

In this blog I will reflect on two employment law trends that are developing in Ontario and outline how the MacLeod Law Firm is responding to these trends.

Ontario’s Workplaces are More Regulated than Ever Before

I advise small to medium size employers on a daily basis. Margins are often tight and resources are usually limited. Ontario employers are increasingly competing against companies operating in unregulated labour markets. Against this backdrop, there is increasing government regulation.

In Ontario, the Kathleen Wynne government has introduced and implemented many changes to the province’s employment laws. Payroll taxes continue to increase, new mandatory training has been introduced in a number of areas, and the definition of an “employee” has been expanded to include non-traditional employees such as volunteers and contractors. The government is currently holding public consultations on changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Ontario Labour Relations Act. And more changes are coming: a new mandatory pension system is expected in 2017 which is in addition to the CPP, and employers will be required to investigate all sexual harassment “incidents” under Bill 132.

Ontario Employers Are Not Aware of the New Employment Laws

In my experience, many small and medium size employers are simply not aware of some of these new employment laws.

For example, news reports suggest that over 65 % of Ontario businesses have not complied with a regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) that took effect 2012.

Did you know that as of July 1, 2014 almost every Ontario employer should have provided mandatory health and safety training to all employees? My guess is that less than 25% of employees who work for small and medium size employers have received this training.

Furthermore, one of the 2015 amendments to the Employment Standards Act requires employers to provide a poster to employees which educates them on their rights under that law. My guess is that less than 25% of employees who work for small and medium size employers have received a copy of this poster.

Our legal system is built on the rule of law which means we must obey the laws of the land and that ignorance of the law is no defense to non-compliance with a law.

I am concerned the rule of law is breaking down in Ontario as it relates to employment laws because small and medium size employers simply cannot keep track of all the employment laws.

The MacLeod Law Firm Keeps Employers Up to Date on New Employment Laws

Every two weeks, I write a blog about changes to Ontario’s employment laws. Some of the changes are introduced by the Ontario government. Some of the changes are as a result of court decisions. I encourage you to subscribe to our blog so you can keep up to date on changes to Ontario’s employment laws.

For my blog on the top 10 employment stories of 2015, click here.

The MacLeod Law Firm Seamlessly Integrates into Your Human Resources Infrastructure

We give an employer confidence and peace of mind because we quickly and competently deal with workplace issues in a way that makes business sense.

If you are a small organization without a dedicated human resources person then we can quickly assess whether your organization is complying with Ontario’s employment laws and tell you what you need to do to get into compliance. In addition, we will defend any legal proceeding an employee (or former employee) commences against you on your behalf.

If your organization has a dedicated human resources person then we can act as a sounding board and trusted advisor on all workplace issues. We are only a phone call away and we can often immediately answer your questions which allows you to address an issue before it escalates. We also act as an early warning signal by raising issues with you before they turn into problems. For example, did you know a new regulation is taking effect under AODA on January 1, 2016 for employers with 50 or more employees and we offer a fixed fee service to review your current HR practices to ensure they comply with this new law? For information on this service, click here.

For the past 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising and representing employers. If you have any questions, you can contact him at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

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