On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi introduced Bill 146, which had been anticipated to be making a number of changes with respect to vulnerable workers employed by temporary help agencies, but which in fact covers quite a bit more ground. The proposed legislation will in fact make changes to five different Acts:
• The Employment Standards Act, 2000 would be amended to make the clients of temporary help agencies liable for the unpaid wages of employees who provide services to them, should the agency fail to pay them. The Bill would make a number of other changes to facilitate this.
• The Employment Standards Act, 2000 would also be amended to eliminate the current $10,000.00 limit on Ministry Orders to Pay made under the Act, and, further, increase the six-month time limit for workers to apply for the recovery of unpaid wages to two years.
• The Workplace Safety Insurance Act, 1997 would be amended to make a client of a temporary help agency responsible for the workers’ compensation costs of agency employees injured while performing work for that client.
• The Occupational Health and Safety Act would be amended to expand the definition of “worker” to include trainees and volunteers who would not otherwise be seen to be workers entitled to protections under this legislation.
• The Labour Relations Act, 1995 would be amended with respect to the construction industry only, to shorten the open season at the end of a collective agreement from three months to two months.
• The Employment Protection For Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 would have its title shortened to eliminate the words in parentheses, and the entire scope of the Act would similarly be broadened to extend its protections to all foreign nationals employed in Ontario or attempting to find employment in the province.
The entire text of the Bill can be found at the following link: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/40_Parliament/Session2/b146.pdf
Please look for a more detailed review of Bill 146, along with an update on any progress made on the proposal, in the next issue of Blaney’s Employment Update.