In November 2017, Ontario passed Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, which included a number of changes to the Employment Standards Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) and labour laws in Ontario. These alterations will be taking effect in early 2018.
This article will focus on Bill 148’s impact on the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA). All HR practitioners should be aware of the implications of these changes to labour laws. The law firm Mathews Dinsdale provides a concise summary of these changes.
The new bill was called Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, but it was the intent of the government to make things fairer and better for workers, not necessarily employers. The changes are in favour of the union movement.
Overall, Bill 148 gives the unions greater benefits around these following themes:
- making it easier to unionize workers in certain sectors
- mandatory union certification if there is a proven unfair labour practices by the employer
- greater access to employee lists and employee contact information
- greater flexibility for the Ministry of Labour to conduct various types of union votes
- greater fines to the employer for violations
Unionization rates have been on a steady decline in Canada for decades from a high of almost 40%, to a low of under 30% of workers in Canada. Will these changes to the Ontario Labour Relations Act start to reverse that trend?
Conduct in-depth research to all the changes to the OLRA due to the passing of Bill 148.
Make a list of all the modifications. Once the list is complete, develop an action plan for an HR department to address these changes with new HR policies and practices.