What’s in Ontario’s massive new labour law? A minimum wage hike, but much, much more

Bill 148’s sweeping reforms will be felt by Ontario businesses of all sizes.

The Ontario legislature passed a bill Wednesday including the much-ballyhooed minimum wage hike that has been hailed as both massive boon and possible job-killer for Canada’s most populous province.

But Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act — contains much more than an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The legislation follows a lengthy review ordered up by Ontario’s Liberal government of provincial employment and labour law, and as such contains sweeping reforms that will be felt by businesses of all sizes.

“We know the province’s economy is doing very well, but not everybody is sharing in that prosperity,” Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said during Wednesday’s question period at Queen’s Park. “It needs to change. Bill 148 is that change.”

So what’s actually in the bill? Here are a few of the changes it will ultimately make in Ontario:

• The wage hike – There is more in the legislation than just the headline increase to the province’s minimum wage, which consists of a hike to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, followed by a bump to $15 per hour in 2019. Outside of that, liquor servers, students under 18, hunting and fishing guides and people working from their homes for an employer would continue to be paid a special minimum wage rate, but that rate “will increase by the same percentage as the general minimum wage,” the province has said.

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