That may impact how businesses think about their staffing
“The consequence of that is likely to be the need to have a
broader pool of potential casual employees to draw from,” said
Nieuwland. “Just in terms of probabilities, you’re going to need
more people to draw from in order to meet your needs.”
Another proposed rule says if a shift is cancelled within 48
hours of when it should start, an employer must pay the employee
at least three hours’ pay.
“So in these industries, they have peak times where they need to
bring people in, but they also have slow times where they need to
send people home, and those aren’t predictable,” said Nieuwland.
“What I suspect that rule will do is create an incentive for the peo-ple
in retail, services and hospitality to basically understaff and
place a higher service burden on the staff who are there.”
UNIONS AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
There are also a few significant changes proposed that would
impact collective bargaining.
“In certain industries, namely building services, home care,
community service and temporary help agencies, the new law says
a union can certify a bargaining unit without a vote as long as they
can show that at least 55 per cent of the bargaining unit has signed
membership cards,” said Nieuwland. Until this change, if less than
55 per cent but more than 40 per cent of workers had signed cards,
a vote was required.
“The key difference is that when you have a vote, employers
have certain rights to make representations to employees about
the pros and cons of having a union,” said Nieuwland. “When
you have a card-based certification process, that ability goes away.
Oftentimes, this is done under the radar so employers aren’t always
aware. When that happens, the employer’s ability to have a say in
the process is gone.”
The other union-related proposal says if a union can show that
20 per cent or more of a bargaining unit are members of the union,
they can have the Labour Board direct the employer to supply a
list of everyone in the proposed bargaining unit.
“Historically, inside organizing committees would have had to
network and it wasn’t always efficient,” said Niewland. “With a list,
they can reach everyone much more directly.”
SMALL THINGS (AND BIG THINGS) ADD UP
Some of the proposed changes are relatively simple, and some
much more complex and costly. It’s the sheer number of changes,
though, behind many employers’ general anxiety.
“Taken in the aggregate, these seemingly minor amendments
could have huge cost implications for employers,” said Williams.
“Small businesses will feel these changes more than others, and
when you consider that small business is responsible for two-thirds
of the private sector employment in Ontario, that’s a pretty
In fact, a study released in August predicts the changes could
put 185,000 jobs at risk. The analysis – done by the Canadian
Centre for Economic Analysis and commissioned by a group of
business sector representatives – also predicts the changes will
mean a 50 per cent increase in inflation this year and for the fore-seeable
future for Ontarians, and an average increase of $1,300 per
household for consumer goods, every year.
“Some proposed changes, like increasing vacation pay, are prob-ably
overdue,” said David Whitten, partner with Whitten &
Lublin. “But it’s the cumulative effect of all these changes that is
going to cost employers a fortune.”
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HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ OCTOBER 2017 ❚ 25