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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Changes to Workplace Rules Coming April 1st – Are You Prepared?

Further changes to the legislation governing Ontario’s workplaces from the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017, a.k.a. Bill 148, take effect on April 1st. Is your business ready?

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act introduced sweeping changes for Ontario employers, most notoriously an increase in minimum wage to $14/hr beginning January 1st, 2018, and to $15/hr on January 1st, 2019. The legislation contained much more than wage legislation, however, and the conversation about wages has led many to overlook the other changes that were made.

Some provisions have already come into force, such as more paid vacation time for employees with five years of tenure and increased leaves of absence including paid personal days. Rules governing equal pay for casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers will take effect next month.

Under the new rules, casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees cannot be paid at a rate of pay less than full-time or permanent employees if:

  • They do substantially the same kind of work, in the same establishment
  • Their work requires substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility
  • Their work is performed under similar working conditions

Temporary help agencies also will not be permitted to pay assignment employees at a rate less than employees directly hired by the agency’s clients under these same conditions.

If you have questions about this legislation and your compliance, please contact Hugo Chesshire, Policy & Government Relations Manager at the GNCC, at hugo@gncc.ca.


The GNCC has worked hard to try and make this legislation fairer to employers, and is continuing that work. The GNCC has met with every provincial elected official in Niagara and made trips to Queen’s Park. We presented arguments and a written submission to the Standing Committee reviewing this legislation. We have hosted informational sessions for Niagara’s businesses, and have helped many members navigate these changes. We are currently meeting with MPPs and candidates from all major parties to try and ensure that, whatever the outcome of this year’s election, we have a business-friendly government in Ontario.