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New provincial workplace legislation enacted

Queen’s working to assess and implement any required changes in the new Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

After a lengthy review, the provincial government recently passed into law Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The Act will have an impact on universities across the province as it makes amendments to the provincial Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Act is perhaps best known for its changes to the general minimum wage. It will rise to $14 per hour starting on Jan. 1, 2018, and then to $15 per hour in January 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. The Act also includes other changes that affect how employees are compensated, scheduled, and granted special leaves. Many of these changes will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, however, certain changes will come into effect this coming April, or in January 2019. In some cases, the changes may come into effect later where they affect the terms of a collective agreement already in place.

Changes to the length of statutorily protected parental leave came into effect on Dec. 3, 2017 to coincide with changes to Employment Insurance benefits announced by the federal government in the March 2017 budget. Eligible parents can now choose between Standard Parental EI Benefit and an Extended Parental EI Benefit. 

A change to the definition of “Chronic Mental Stress” under WSIB policy will come into effect Jan. 1, 2018, following the passage Bill 127, the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act 2017.

“The Human Resources department has been preparing for this new legislation and will be supporting units across the university with implementation of the required changes,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “All managers are encouraged to attend an information session on these legislative changes.”  

The HR department will be holding a series of information sessions for managers over the coming weeks to give them guidance on the legislative changes and to answer questions. The sessions will take place in the Lecture Theatre of the Faculty and Staff Learning Facility (Mac-Corry, B176) on the following dates:

  • Dec. 13, 2017 – 9:30 am to 11 am
  • Dec. 14, 2017 – 1:30 pm to 3 pm
  • Jan. 11, 2018  – 9:30 am to 11 am
  • Jan. 17, 2018  – 9:30 am to 11 am

Please register by visiting the Learning Catalogue.

A working group that includes representation from academic and shared service units has been set up to provide input to the HR department throughout the implementation process.

To learn more, visit the HR department’s Legislative Policy Changes webpage.