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Newsletter – April 2024


Ontario Passes Fourth Working for Workers Act

In a move aimed at bolstering worker protections and enhancing job opportunities, Ontario has passed the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. Key highlights of the act include:

  • Improved Cancer Coverage for Firefighters: The act lowers the employment period required for compensation when diagnosed with esophageal cancer from 25 to 15 years for firefighters and fire investigators.
  • Strengthened Wage Protections: Wage protections for workers in the restaurant, hospitality, and service industries are reinforced. Employers are prohibited from deducting wages in instances of dine and dash or theft, and trial shifts must be paid. Additionally, employers utilizing pooled tips must disclose this information, and employees receiving tips via direct deposit have the right to choose their deposit account.
  • Ban on Canadian Experience Requirement: Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to ban the use of Canadian experience as a requirement in job postings or application forms, particularly benefiting candidates in high-demand fields like healthcare.
  • Enhanced Pathways for International Students: The legislation facilitates international students’ eligibility for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), streamlining pathways to permanent residency.
  • Transparent Hiring Practices: Employers are mandated to disclose salary ranges in job postings and inform applicants if artificial intelligence (AI) is utilized during the hiring process, promoting transparency in employment opportunities.
  • Improved Oversight of Regulated Professions: The act enhances oversight of how regulated professions assess international qualifications through third-party organizations, ensuring fairness and transparency in the process.
  • Clarity on Vacation Pay Provisions: Amendments clarify vacation pay provisions, emphasizing the requirement of a written agreement if vacation pay is disbursed differently than a lump sum before the vacation period.
  • Support for Injured Workers: Injured workers will benefit from additional “super indexing” increases to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits above the annual inflation rate.

    Additionally, the legislation initiates consultations on restricting the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in cases of workplace harassment or misconduct, while also considering the creation of a new, job-protected leave for critical illnesses like cancer.

Read more


Solar Eclipse Safety Guidelines for April 8th
A total solar eclipse will be visible across much of Eastern Canada on Monday, April 8th, 2024. While this celestial event is fascinating, looking directly at the sun during the eclipse poses a serious risk of permanent eye damage. It is important that anyone working outdoors during this time be aware of the risks and take precautions to minimize the risk of injury. Employer Responsibilities:
  • Employers with workers who may be exposed to the sun during the eclipse should instruct workers not to look at the sun during the eclipse.
  • Educate all workers about the dangers of looking at the eclipse without proper eye protection. To look at the sun during the solar eclipse, specifically designed protective filters that comply with the ISO 12312-2: 2015 standard are required.
  • Adjust schedules, if possible, to minimize non-essential outdoor work and travel during the peak eclipse period (approximately 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM).
  • Encourage workers to take breaks indoors during the eclipse.
Additional Resources:
  • The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development has updated its Working Outdoors webpage with safety information related to the eclipse.
  • The Canadian Space Agency offers further details about the eclipse and safe viewing practices.


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HR Legal Article: Another Blow to Termination Clauses

A recent Ontario court decision has thrown a wrench into the world of termination clauses in employment agreements, potentially rendering your employment agreements unenforceable and exposing your organization to significant liability.

Experts at HRC Law Professional Corporation have drafted an insightful article, “Another Blow to Termination Clauses,” explaining this recent decision. The article discusses the case, Dufault v. The Corporation of the Township of Ignace, where certain words in the termination clause (specifically “at any time” and “sole discretion”) were found invalid and resulted in significant termination entitlements for the employee.

We highly recommend taking a moment to read it.


Canada Unveils Action Plan to Empower Black Public Employees

Canada has created a “dedicated national team” to address worker misclassification in the transportation industry. Employment and Social Development Canada has launched a campaign to combat this issue through a mobile enforcement unit. The unit has completed over 300 inspections and outreach sessions over the past six months.
The Labour Program established the team to address concerns from the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which claims the federal government has failed to address the issue of Driver Inc., a tax scheme that denies employees access to important rights under the Canada Labour Code. The federal government provided ESDC $26.3 million over five years to take stronger action against non compliant employers through orders, fines, and prosecutions to enforce the Canada Labour Code.

The Federal Minimum Wage Increases by 65 Cents

The federal minimum wage has been increased, in line with the government’s earlier announcement this year. Workers in federally-regulated industries, including transportation, telecommunications, banking, and postal services, are now receiving a bump of 65 cents per hour, bringing the minimum wage to approximately $17.30 per hour as of April 1st.



Ontario Superior Court Declares Termination Clauses in Fixed-Term Employment Contracts Unenforceable

In the case of Dufault v. The Corporation of the Township of Ignace, 2024 ONSC 1029, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that termination provisions in a fixed-term employment contract were illegal and unenforceable under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). The employee, terminated without cause, was awarded damages equal to the remaining term of the agreement. 

The court found that the termination clauses violated the ESA by denying notice of termination or termination pay when terminated “for cause,” failing to provide for vacation pay during the notice period, and wrongly granting the employer sole discretion to terminate employment. Employers are advised to ensure that termination clauses in employment contracts comply with the ESA to avoid similar legal challenges. Regular review and legal counsel guidance in drafting employment agreements are recommended. For a detailed analysis of this case and key takeaways for employers, we recommend reading the article “Another Blow to Termination Clauses.”

Bill 124 Remedial Payments Cost Ontario $6 Billion

Ontario’s Workplace Naloxone Program assists employers in meeting the naloxone requirements outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It offers free naloxone training for up to two workers per workplace and/or one complimentary nasal spray naloxone kit per workplace.

Workplaces in need of Naloxone kits have until March 31st to obtain a free kit along with training through this program.


Ontario Contractors Expect Busy 2024 Amid Rising Projects and Technological Innovation

Ontario contractors are anticipating a busy year ahead in 2024, fueled by a robust project pipeline across various sectors, as revealed by the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s annual Contractor Survey. Over two-thirds of surveyed contractors express positivity, particularly in unionized workplaces. Despite concerns over rising costs for materials and labour, improvements in the supply chain and a growing interest in innovation and technology offer opportunities to enhance productivity and reduce expenses.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce Advocates Productivity Focus in Upcoming Budget Amid Economic Concerns

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has highlighted several challenges threatening Ontario’s economic prosperity, including inflation, infrastructure backlogs, regulatory barriers, skills gaps, and concerns over a slowing economy. In their submission to the provincial government for the upcoming budget on March 26, the chamber emphasizes the need to address these challenges with a principled growth strategy aimed at closing Ontario’s productivity gap. Chamber President and CEO, Daniel Tisch, stresses the importance of prioritizing productivity in 2024 and beyond to attract capital and support immediate growth while investing in education, infrastructure, and sustainable communities.

Chamber President and CEO, Daniel Tisch, stresses the importance of prioritizing productivity in 2024 and beyond to attract capital and support immediate growth while investing in education, infrastructure, and sustainable communities.Key recommendations from the chamber include addressing labour shortages through support for post-secondary education and upskilling initiatives, fostering business competitiveness and sustainable growth, investing in resilient communities, and building strong foundations through infrastructure development. The chamber’s submission reflects input from various stakeholders, including businesses, unions, postsecondary institutions, non-profits, industry groups, and chambers of commerce across the province.



Alberta Daycare Fees Drop to $15 a Day, Government Officials Announce

Government officials in Alberta have announced a significant milestone, revealing that daycare fees in the province have plummeted to an average of $15 a day. Federal Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault and Alberta Jobs Minister Matt Jones jointly announced this achievement, attributing it to increased funding for daycares introduced in January. Boissonnault highlighted the substantial savings for parents, estimating up to $13,700 per child annually compared to 2019 fees.

This reduction is part of Ottawa’s broader plan to eventually bring the cost down to an average of $10 a day. The funding agreement between Alberta and the federal government aims to create a publicly funded daycare system, with financial support flowing through the province to licensed child-care operators. While the $15-a-day rate is an average and may vary for individual parents, the overall decrease reflects efforts to make childcare more affordable and accessible across the province. The province has also implemented measures to expedite funding disbursement to daycare operators, alleviating financial strains and ensuring the sustainability of childcare businesses.



B.C. Tribunal Rejects Trucking Company’s Time Theft Claims Against Former Drivers

A recent ruling by the small claims tribunal in British Columbia has dismissed time theft cases brought against three former drivers by Sandhar Trucking. The carrier sought to claim back wages totaling $13,616.83 from the drivers, alleging they had overstated their hours on timesheets. However, the tribunal member, Micah Carmody, ruled in favour of the drivers, stating that the carrier failed to prove the allegations of time theft. Carmody emphasized that a driver’s shift doesn’t solely revolve around engine start and stop times but involves various tasks such as route planning and paperwork submission.

The tribunal found that the company’s scrutiny of the drivers’ timesheets was not sufficient evidence to establish wrongdoing. Additionally, a similar allegation by Aaron Trucking against one of the drivers was also dismissed. These decisions highlight the importance of clear evidence in cases of alleged time theft and the need for fair treatment of workers in the trucking industry.



Manitoba Government Proposes Legislation to Enhance Worker Protections During Illness or Injury Recovery

The Manitoba government has announced plans to introduce amendments to the Employment Standards Code aimed at bolstering protections for workers recovering from illness or injury. Labour and Immigration Minister Malaya Marcelino revealed that the proposed changes would extend long-term leave for serious injury or illness to 27 weeks, aligning with the federal employment insurance (EI) benefit period. Marcelino emphasized the importance of ensuring workers have the time and flexibility needed to focus on treatment and recovery without financial worries.

The move comes after federal changes to EI and employment standards legislation in 2022, which increased EI sickness benefits and the maximum length of unpaid medical leave for federally regulated employees. However, Manitoba’s legislation did not align with these changes, prompting the proposed amendments to ensure Manitobans can access the full benefits available to them. To be eligible for long-term leave for a serious injury or illness, the proposed changes would require employees to have worked for the same employer for at least 90 days. While the leave is unpaid under provincial law, employers have the option to provide leave beyond the minimum standards.


Manitoba Minimum Wage to Increase to $15.80

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew has announced an upcoming increase in the minimum wage, with earners set to receive an additional 50 cents per hour as of October 1. According to provincial law, this adjustment, which raises the hourly rate to $15.80, uses a formula based on inflation rates from the previous year.



Saskatchewan Unveils Labour Market Strategy to Bolster Workforce and Economic Growth

The Saskatchewan government has unveiled The Saskatchewan Labour Market Strategy, a comprehensive plan aimed at strengthening the province’s workforce. Premier Scott Moe and Minister Jeremy Harrison introduced the strategy, emphasizing its role in ensuring Saskatchewan residents benefit from the evolving job landscape and supporting employers in meeting their workforce needs.

The strategy encompasses three key pillars: preparing Saskatchewan residents for employment, recognizing skills within the province, and facilitating international recruitment. By aligning training programs with industry demands, enhancing Indigenous and disability inclusion, and streamlining processes for credential recognition, the plan aims to foster economic growth across sectors such as energy, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and technology. Industry support for the strategy has been voiced, with organizations like the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada endorsing its inclusive approach and commitment to workforce alignment.



P.E.I. government says sick-day legislation will take effect Oct. 1

Starting on October 1st, Islanders will be entitled to up to three days of paid sick leave under an amendment to the Employment Standards Act, which was originally proposed by the Liberal Party in 2023.Despite concerns from opposition parties about potential delays, the government has announced that the bill has been proclaimed and will take effect on the specified date.

 The act mandates one paid sick day after 12 months of employment, two days after 24 months, and three days after 36 months. This amendment represents a compromise from the original Liberal proposal, which aimed for five paid sick days annually after 180 days of consecutive employment. This development follows federal legislation in 2021, which mandated 10 paid sick days annually for workers in federally regulated industries.



Alberta: $15 per hour, which has been in effect since October 1, 2018. Students under 18 years of age who work less than 28 hours per week earn a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour. Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals) earn a minimum wage of $598 per week. Domestic employees (living in their employer’s home) earn a minimum wage of $2,848 per month.

British Columbia:$16.75 per hour, which has been in effect since June 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.40 per hour as of June 1, 2024. For live-in camp leaders, the daily rate for each day or part day worked is $133.69. For live-in home support workers, the current daily rate is $124.73 per day or part day worked. The minimum wage for resident caretakers is a monthly wage based on the number of suites in the building: $1002.53 per month plus $40.17 for each suite for a building with 9 to 60 residential suites / $3414.85 per month for a building with 61 or more residential suites.

Federal Minimum Wage: $17.30 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Manitoba: $15.30 per hour, which has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15.80 on October 1.

New Brunswick: $15.30 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Newfoundland and Labrador: $15.30 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Northwest Territories: $16.05 per hour, which has been in effect since Sep. 1, 2023.

Nova Scotia: $15.20 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Nunavut: $19 per hour, which has been in effect since January 1, 2024.

Ontario: $$16.55, which has been in effect since October 1, 2023. The special minimum wage rates are as follows:

  • $15.60 per hour for students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or summer holidays.
  • $18.20 per hour for homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers).
  • Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides earn $82.85 per day when working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $165.75 per day when working five or more hours in a day.

Prince Edward Island: $15.40 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024. The wage will also increase to $16 per hour on October 1, 2024.

Quebec: $15.25 per hour, which has been in effect since May 1, 2023.

Saskatchewan: $14 per hour, which has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15 per hour as of Oct. 1, 2024.

Yukon: $17.59 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.


List of Provincial, Territorial, and Federal Statutory Holidays 2024

Still searching the internet for this year’s statutory holiday list? No need to look any further! We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive list for both federally and provincially regulated employers, ensuring you stay informed throughout the year.


Navigating Performance Management and Disciplinary Actions: Tips for Canadian Organizations

Dive into our latest blog on navigating public holidays and public holiday pay calculations in Ontario. From decoding complex regulations to highlighting crucial considerations, we’ve got everything you need to ensure your payroll practices remain seamless.


When do the licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruiters begin in Ontario?

  • April 15th 14% 14%
  • April 30th 77% 77%
  • May 15th 4% 4%
  • June 30th 5% 5%


Under the Canada Labour Code, what is the minimum notice period required to terminate an employee without cause after one year of continuous employment?

  • One week
  • Two weeks
  • One month
  • Two months


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Ky’okusinga Kirunga

Executive Director, Amref Health Africa in Canada

“Nonprofits are small, we have limited budgets, but just knowing that you can choose from a menu that fits within your budget and you can have top-notch service is really valuable. … I feel like the support went above and beyond supporting me personally through some more difficult moments but also supporting the decisions.”