bill 148 esa ontario changes

Bill 148: The impact to your business starting January 2018

Bill 148 will have significant changes to your business effective on January 1st, 2018. You should be aware of these changes as well as be in a position to help assist your HR department and employee managers with any questions that might come up from your work force. You should also engage your HRIS / Payroll Service partners on how to prepare and incorporate these changes for the new year.

The reforms to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) applies to Ontario. Some key highlights are below:
Minimum wage increase

  • $14.00 per hour in January 2018
  • $15.00 per hour in January 2019

Stat Holiday Pay

  • Changes to the way holiday pay is calculated
    • Holiday pay is equal to the total wages earned in the prior period before the holiday / number of worked days during the pay period with the holiday (current period)
  • You must provide documented or written agreement to the employee if you require them to work on the holiday. Additional details include the day the employee will take as a substitute, communication date and agreement.


  • Employees now with 5 or more years of service must receive at a minimum 3 weeks’ vacation. Equivalent of 6% of employee’s wages.

Leave of Absence

  • There are new categories in effect that provides additional time off listed below:
    • Death of a child – up to 104 weeks
    • Crime-related disappearance of a child – up to 104 weeks
    • Domestic or Sexual Violence of employee or child – up to 10 days paid, additional 15 weeks unpaid
    • Maternity or miscarriage or stillbirth – up to 12 weeks (prior was 6 weeks)
    • Parental – 35 up to 61 weeks (for a parent who has taken maternity already), 37 up to 63 for other
    • Family Medical – 8 up to 27 weeks
    • Personal Emergency – 2 days paid, up to 10 days in total


  • The Employee is entitled for a minimum of 3 hours regular pay for any Schedule shift cancellations or sent home early for any circumstances beyond your control such as storms, outages etc…
  • On call employees must be paid a minimum of 3 hours regular pay regardless if they have worked or not
  • If you cancel a shift and only provide the employee less than 48 hours (4 days) of notice before the start of the shift you must pay 3 hours regular pay
  • The employee can decline work if you have requested them to work 96 hours (8 days) before the shift start

Detailed Records

  • You now have to track the dates and times employees:
    • Work
    • Was schedule to work
    • On call
    • Scheduled shift cancellations

In summary, with Bill 148, the Ontario government is looking help promote a better work life balance. Changes will give employees better flexibility, however, might have some negative impacts at the company level. As an Ontario business, you should evaluate these changes and how to incorporate them in day-to-day operations.
Details and debates on Bill 148 are available on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website here.