December 18, 2017

Bill 148 has now passed, however different parts of the Act come into effect at different times. Although Bill 148 includes many changes, there are five areas that will affect the landscape and horticulture professions the most.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage increased to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and will increase again to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019.

Scheduling

The new legislation deals with a number of changes to scheduling work. However, the nursery/landscape sector is exempt from the new scheduling rules based on the following:

Cancelled shift:
Employers will not be required to pay for a cancelled shift if they were unable to provide work because of:

  • Fire, lightning, power failure, storms or similar causes beyond their control, or;
  • The employee’s work is weather-dependent and the employer is unable to provide work for weather-related reasons.

Three-hour rule:
Employers will not be required to pay wages for three hours for a shift that lasts fewer than three hours if they were unable to provide work because of fire, lightning, power failure, storms or similar causes beyond their control.

Refusing a shift with less than 96 hours notice:
Employees cannot refuse a shift if the reason an employer is asking them to work or be on call is to:

  • Deal with an emergency.
  • Remedy or reduce a threat to public safety.
  • Ensure the continued delivery of essential public services, regardless of who delivers those services.

On-call pay rules:
Employers will not be required to pay wages for three hours for an on-call shift if the employee is on-call to ensure the continued delivery of essential public services, regardless of who delivers those services and the employee was not required to work.

Vacation time

Employees are entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years with the same employer. The legislation says “both active and inactive employment shall be included” in the calculation. Even if you layoff the employee for the winter, they are still employed. In essence, employees receive four per cent vacation pay if they are employed less than five years and six per cent vacation pay if they are employed more than five years.

Personal emergency paid leave

Employees will be entitled to two days of paid leave due to any of the following:

  1. A personal illness, injury or medical emergency.
  2. The death, illness, injury or medical emergency of an individual described in Subsection (2).
  3. An urgent matter that concerns an individual described in Subsection (2).

Subsection (2) applies in respect of the following individuals:

  1. The employee’s spouse.
  2. A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  3. A child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  4. A child who is under legal guardianship of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  5. A brother, step-brother, sister or step-sister of the employee.
  6. A grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  7. A brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee.
  8. A son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  9. An uncle or aunt of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  10. A nephew or niece of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  11. The spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.
  12. A person who considers the employee to be like a family member, provided the prescribed conditions, if any, are met.
  13. Any individual prescribed as a family member for the purposes of this section.

Horticultural, agricultural and landscape gardener special rules

There are currently a number of special rules that exempt agriculture and horticulture from overtime and statutory holiday pay. These special rules are still in effect until they are reviewed sector by sector. Our sector review is scheduled for early 2018. Any changes to the special rules will likely be put in place for 2019.

Links to additional resources are available online at:

https://horttrades.com/landscape-profession-prepares-for-minimum-wage-increase
https://horttrades.com/letter-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-act-ontario
www.ontario.ca/page/plan-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-bill-148#section-6
ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?BillID=4963


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