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Ontario employment law changes affect employee rights

Minimum wage increases and extended holidays are just two of the things Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs intends to accomplish. Ontario workers' employee rights will be affected by the amendments to the province's Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA). Many workers struggle to make ends meet, and the province is aiming to bring the playing field between employees and employers onto more level ground.

Changes to the laws will give employees increased security and opportunity. Come Jan. 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario will be raised to $14 an hour with a further increase on Jan. 1, 2019 to $15 an hour. There will be further sweeping changes that affect such things as equal pay for equal work, overtime pay, termination of employment, scheduling, public holiday pay, paid emergency leave and family medical leave. Employees will no longer have to present a physician's note to their employers for taking personal leave.

As for vacations, as of Jan. 1, 2018 employees will be entitled to three weeks paid vacation after five years with the same employer, rather than two weeks. In addition, employees won't have to tell their employers that they're filing a claim under the ESA. And in a further boost to employee rights -- the employment standards director will no longer to able to refuse to assign an employment standards officer to investigate ESA claims because employees didn't provide enough information.

These laws further safeguard employee rights in Ontario. However, workers who believe their rights have been infringed upon in any way in the workplace would do well to get the guidance of an Ontario lawyer experienced in employment law. He or she will be able to help determine the potential strength of a legal claim. A lawyer will also ensure any deadlines regarding a claim are met.



Source:, "Proposed Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws", Accessed on Sept. 1, 2017

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