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Newsletter – June 2024


Ontario Government Introduces Bill 190: Working for Workers Five Act, 2024

On May 6, 2024, the Ontario government introduced Bill 190, the
Working for Workers Five Act, 2024. This proposed legislation aims to enhance employment standards and worker protections across the province. Key measures include expanding pathways into skilled trades through new apprenticeship programs, streamlining the registration process for internationally trained workers, and improving health and safety standards for frontline workers.

Additionally, the Bill seeks to support women in the workplace by requiring menstrual products on construction sites and modernizing harassment definitions to include virtual harassment. If passed, these changes will significantly impact employment practices and worker safety in Ontario.

Learn more in our blog


HR Legal Article: Another Blow to Termination Clauses

An 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.


Federal employees will be required to spend 3 days a week in the office

Starting this fall, federal government employees in Canada will be required to work in their offices at least three days a week, up from the current two days. Executives will have to work in the office four days a week. This policy change, effective September 9, 2024, aims to enhance collaboration, onboarding, and workplace culture.

In March 2023, the federal government implemented the current hybrid work policy requiring federal public servants to work in the office two or three days a week, or 40 to 60 per cent of their regular schedule. The new rules will apply uniformly across all departments and include employees previously allowed to work remotely, such as call center and IT staff.


Updates for Both Federally and Provincially

Regulated Organizations

Senate calls for end to employer-specific work permits

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is under scrutiny for causing difficulties for both employers and workers, according to a Senate committee report. Key issues include the restrictive employer-specific work permits, which make workers vulnerable to abuse and limit employers’ flexibility. The involvement of multiple federal and local bodies creates confusion about where to seek information or support. Additionally, policies are often reactive, and inspections are uncoordinated. Women and gender-diverse workers face particular risks of violence and inadequate healthcare access. The federal government found nearly 200 Canadian employers to be non-compliant to the rules of the TFW Program in 2023.

The Senate committee proposed several reforms: creating a well-funded Migrant Work Commission, phasing out employer-specific work permits within three years, providing better information on transitioning to permanent residence, standardizing unannounced inspections, improving access to healthcare information, and enhancing data coordination across government levels.




Ontario to increase fines for ‘bad actor’ employers

Ontario is preparing to introduce legislation to impose harsher penalties on employers violating the Employment Standards Act. Labour Minister David Piccini announced that fines for individual violations will double from $50,000 to $100,000, and fines for repeat offenders will increase from $1,000 to $5,000 per affected employee. This move targets employers who fail to pay wages, discriminate against employees on pregnancy or parental leave, and practice unequal pay for equal work. The legislation also aims to penalize employers for withholding workers’ passports.

Piccini emphasized the importance of protecting workers as Ontario’s economy grows. Recent investigations revealed that 10,000 workers in Ontario are owed $4.2 million in unpaid wages, highlighting the need for stricter enforcement.

The proposed labour omnibus bill will also extend cancer, heart, and PTSD coverage to wildland firefighters, similar to that of municipal firefighters. Additionally, it introduces a high school apprenticeship pathway to address skilled trades demand and eliminates the requirement for sick notes for short absences to reduce the burden on family doctors.

Learn More

June 13: 2024 Occupational Health and Safety Research Day

The Ministry and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is organizing a virtual Research Day event on June 13 from 12:00 to 1:15 p.m. This event will showcase selected research funded by the Ministry and WSIB, focusing on occupational illnesses. Register for free to discover significant findings in health and safety research.

Register Now

Updated Training Standards for Working at Heights

Newly updated standards for mandatory working at heights training are now online. These updated standards address one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction and will help improve the quality of training and the safety knowledge of participants when working with ladders, skylights, damaged equipment, and more.

See the updated program standard and provider standard.

Temporary help agency and recruiter licensing deadline on July 1st

Starting July 1, temporary help agencies and recruiters must have a license. Clients, employers, potential employers, and other recruiters are prohibited from knowingly working with or using the services of unlicensed temporary help agencies or recruiters. For license applications submitted before July 1 that are still awaiting a decision, a transitional rule will be in effect.

Learn more | Find out if an agency or recruiter is licenced

WSIAT: New practice direction – right to sue applications

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal’s (WSIAT) new practice direction on right to sue applications is now available. The new practice direction:

  • makes the right to sue process and materials clear and easy to understand
  • integrates the right to sue process with E-File and E-Share
  • allows parties to identify preliminary issues and their willingness to participate in mediation at the outset of a right to sue application
  • creates opportunities to resolve right to sue applications on the basis of the written record (an agreed statement of facts) or through mediation in addition to oral hearings

Learn more

Ontario’s WSIB changing ‘suitable work’ for injured workers’ claims

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is revising how it interprets “suitable work available in the job market” for foreign workers injured in Ontario. Under legislation, if someone who was injured at work cannot return to their original job but is able to return to other work, the WSIB is obligated to adjust their income replacement payments to reflect that suitable and available work. Previously, suitable work was considered based on availability in Ontario, even for foreign workers who could not return. Now, suitable work will be assessed based on the worker’s home job market.

WSIB President Jeff Lang emphasized the need for fair treatment of these workers, acknowledging past injustices. The WSIB will review over 50 claims dating back to 2007 and expects to pay millions in retroactive compensation. This change follows Ontario’s Bill 149, which allows for additional increases to WSIB benefits above inflation.

The WSIB has also introduced a new Foreign Agricultural Worker Strategy focusing on:

  • Prevention and Compliance: Supporting health and safety through the SAWP program.
  • Communication and Engagement: Improving collaboration among stakeholders and support for injured workers.
  • Case Management: Enhancing claims processes to consider local job markets in the workers’ home countries.
    Additionally, the WSIB updated its policy to shorten the reporting deadline for workplace injuries from seven to three business days.



Alberta Introduces Bill 22 for Overhaul of Health Care Oversight and Labour Practices

Alberta’s Health Minister, Adriana LaGrange, introduced Bill 22, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, aiming to restructure the province’s health care system. The bill would shift oversight from one regional health authority, Alberta Health Services (AHS), to four new sectors. The proposed amendments include establishing new provincial health agencies and appointing oversight and sector ministers. Additionally, the bill addresses labour-related amendments to facilitate the transition of employees from AHS to the new agencies. While LaGrange assures no job losses, critics voice concerns over the potential chaos in hospitals and clinics. If passed, the bill would take effect in June.



B.C. hotel found guilty of labour code breach

The BC Labour Relations Board ruled that the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport Hotel, and specifically its majority owner Sukhminder Rai, violated the labour code by intimidating and threatening strikers. Rai’s comments, including threats of dismissal and implications of job loss, were deemed intimidating and aimed at dissuading union membership. The board highlighted Rai’s statements regarding the closure of the hotel kitchen as intimidation tactics. Rai’s offer for a striker to play a plastic vuvuzela at his daughter’s wedding was also seen as intimidation. UNITE HERE Local 40 hailed the decision as a legal and moral victory, emphasizing the strikers’ resilience in fighting for justice. The strike, initiated on May 3, 2021, continues. Additionally, Ottawa and several provinces, including Manitoba and British Columbia, have proposed anti-scab labour bills.



B.C. Supreme Court upholds COVID vax mandate for healthcare workers

The British Columbia Supreme Court has upheld Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, which remains in effect. The court dismissed petitions from 15 individuals who lost their jobs for non-compliance with the mandate. The petitioners challenged the orders on grounds including the level of risk posed by COVID-19, the impact on unvaccinated healthcare workers, and constitutional rights. However, the court found the orders reasonable and justified, balancing public health risks and individual rights. While one aspect of the case was sent back for potential reconsideration, the overall mandate was upheld. In a separate ruling, an Ontario hospital was found not entitled to terminate two employees who refused to comply with its vaccination policy.


Workplace violence the focus of now active SaskatchewanEm ployment Act changes

Effective May 17, 2024, amendments to the Saskatchewan Employment Act regarding occupational health and safety provisions have come into force. These changes mandate all provincially regulated workplaces to implement a violence policy and prevention plan. Notably, the provisions now extend to students, post-secondary students, volunteers, and contract workers. Key requirements of the policy and prevention plan include the employer’s commitment to minimizing or eliminating risks, identifying potential areas and positions prone to violence, informing workers about the nature and risks of violence, reporting procedures for violent incidents, investigation protocols, and provisions for workers’ treatment and counseling referrals. Additionally, employers are required to provide training programs for workers.




N.B. looks to boost benefits for injured workers

Proposed legislation in New Brunswick aims to enhance benefits for injured workers during their recovery process. The changes would raise wage loss benefits from 85% to 90% of regular earnings and increase the maximum annual earnings covered from $76,500 to $82,100. Labour Minister Greg Turner described this increase as historic and stated that it would provide more financial support to New Brunswickers, particularly amidst rising living costs. These amendments stem from recommendations following a review by WorkSafeNB and consultations with workers and employers. Turner attributed the improvements to WorkSafeNB’s strong funding position, which allowed for lower rates charged to employers. Mel Norton, WorksafeNB’s board chairperson, emphasized the balanced approach of increasing benefits while maintaining stable assessment rates for employers. The proposed changes are slated to take effect on July 1 pending legislative approval.


Report shows decline of injury rate in Nova Scotia workplaces, rise in mental trauma

The Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board reports a decline in the injury rate among workers, reaching half the rate recorded two decades ago. The time-loss injury rate improved to 1.4 injuries per 100 covered workers in 2023, down from 1.54 in 2022 and significantly better than the rate of 3.0 seen in 2003. CEO Karen Adams credits a growing awareness of safety among workers and employers, as well as safety initiatives like the “Better Safety, Better Care” campaign. However, the health and social services sector still has the highest injury rate, though it decreased from 2.75 in 2022 to 2.35 in 2023. Psychological injuries from traumatic events are on the rise, with first responders being particularly affected. Despite improvements, 18 Nova Scotians died at or because of their work in 2023, a figure that the board emphasizes as preventable. The report highlights ongoing efforts to improve workplace safety and address psychological injuries.




 $15.75 per hour, which has been in effect since May 1, 2024.$18.20 per hour for homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers).$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.$16.55, which has been in effect since October 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.20 an hour on October 1, 2024. The special minimum wage rates are as follows:$19 per hour, which has been in effect since January 1, 2024. $15.20 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024.$16.05 per hour, which has been in effect since Sep. 1, 2023.$15.60 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024. $15.30 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024.$15.30 per hour, which has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15.80 on October 1, 2024.  

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, which has been in effect since 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, which has been in effect since 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 wage will increase to $17.20 an hour on October 1, 2024. 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, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024. The wage will 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, which has been in effect since 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.


Quiet on the Work Front: Why Employees Are Taking “Quiet Vacations”

The workplace has undergone significant transformations in the wake of the pandemic, leading to new behaviours among employees. One such behaviour is “quiet vacationing,” where employees take time off without officially requesting leave. This article explores why employees resort to quiet vacationing, its impact on productivity, and offers practical tips for employers to address and prevent this trend.


Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA), how many breaks is an employee entitled to in an 8-hour shift?

  • One 30-minute break    42% 42%
  • Two 30-minute breaks 30% 30%
  • Three 15-minute breaks 7% 7%
  • Two 15-minute breaks   21% 21%


How many weeks of paid vacation do you believe are appropriate for employees?

  • 2 Weeks
  • 3 Weeks
  • 1 Week
  • Others (Comment Below)


Did you miss out on our latest webinars and question and answer sessions?
Now you can catch up on all the valuable information shared during our previous sessions right here.



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Scarborough Arts

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