Ontario Labour Laws Training (TS Tech Inc.)

Labour Relations deals mainly with the relationship between employers and employees or their representatives the unions. In Canada up until the 1970s the majority of the unions and the employees they represented were part of the American based craft and industrial unions.

Labour Relations in Canada covers a number of labour laws and regulations that fall under either federal, provincial, or territorial jurisdiction. It refers most often to those under federal jurisdiction. Canadian labour law can be viewed as complex and fragmented with 14 legislative jurisdictions:

  • Federal government
  • 10 provinces
  • 3 territories

Each of these have the authority to pass its own labour legislation dealing with legislative powers, labour law, employment standards, human rights, pay and employment equity, trade unions, collective bargaining, occupational health and safety and employment insurance. Each year, there are changes (amendments) made to various laws in the different legislative jurisdictions.

Federal Jurisdiction

Under federal jurisdiction there is the Canada Labour Code which covers both unionized and non-unionized workers.
The Code is divided into three parts:

Part 1: regulates the relationship between labour and management and covers collective bargaining and the constructive settlement of labour disputes.

Part 2: Covers Occupational Health and Safety in federal jurisdictions

Part 3: Handles standard hours of work, wages, leave, vacations and holidays in federal jurisdictions.

Under provincial jurisdictions there are the Labour Codes or Acts which covers unionized workers, and the Employment Standards which covers non-unionized workers.

Ontario Labour Law and Employment Standards under The Ministry of Labour

The Ontario Labour Relations Act

The Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 is administered by the Ontario Labour Relations Board an independent tribunal which deals with the resolution of labour and employment disputes in unionized workplaces.

Ontario Labour Relations Board

The Ontario Labour Relations Board(OLRB) is an independent, adjudicative tribunal responsible for the effective resolution of labour and employment disputes.

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) legislates the minimum standards for non-unionized employees working in Ontario. It explains the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in most Ontario workplaces.

The Ontario ESA covers a wide range of employment standards including:

  • Hours of work, eating and rest periods
  • Payment of wages
  • Overtime pay
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Minimum wage
  • Pregnancy and parental leave
  • Personal emergency leave
  • Family caregiver leave
  • Family medical leave
  • Critical illness leave

  • Crime-related child-disappearance leave
  • Public holidays
  • Vacation
  • Termination of employment and temporary layoffs
  • Severance of employment
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Temporary help agencies
  • Enforcement and compliance

Go to Ontario Employment Standards Act


Managers and supervisors need to keep up with the do's and don'ts in employment-related laws as they work on creating sound employee relations within their organization. This can lead to improved worker morale, as well as reduced absenteeism, and increased individual productivity.
It's best to follow the amendments as and when they are published.

Labour Law Amendments

Over the past 3 years there have been some major amendments made to the various labour-related laws in Ontario.

1. Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Plan Act (View Bill 132) came into effect September 8, 2016 having made amendments to the OHSA and expanding the meaning of workplace harassment to include a definition of sexual harassment. Bill 132's definition of sexual harassment is the same as that of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Bill 132 defines "workplace sexual harassment" as: "(a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or

(b) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome."

2. Bill 177, Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017/8 made amendments to the OHSA, (View Schedule 30 of Bill 177).

An important amendment in Bill 177 was the increased limit of fines under section 66 of the OHSA. For individuals, fines were increased from $25,000 to $100,000 and for corporations from $500,000 to $1,500,000. Also, the limitation period under which charges can be filed under section 69 of the OHSA was changed to the later of either one year of the default, or one year from the time an inspector learns of the alleged offence.

3. Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017: (View Bill 148).

Schedule 1 of Bill 148

(View SCHEDULE 1 of Bill 148)

Schedule 1 covers the various amendments to the Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000.

  • Changes regarding independent contractors
  • Employees may requests changes to their schedules or work location
  • Scheduling and new scheduling pay provisions
  • Overtime pay
  • Minimum wage rate
  • Public holiday(s) amendments
  • Vacation with pay
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Leave(s) of absence has been amended.
  • Domestic or sexual violence leave (new)
  • Personal emergency leave
  • Temporary help agencies

Amendments were also made to the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 and to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Changes to Employment Standards include:

  • Scheduling
  • Overtime Pay
  • Employee Misclassification
  • Joint Liability of Related Employers
  • Paid Emergency Leave
  • Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave
  • Pregnancy Leave
  • Critical Illness Leave
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Leave for the Death of a Child and for Crime-Related Disappearance
  • Parental Leave

For a detailed description on each visit: Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000.

These changes came into force on January 1, 2018.

Schedule 2 of Bill 148

Schedule 2 of Bill 148 makes amendments to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995.

Schedule 3 of Bill 148

Occupational Health and Safety Act (view Occupational Health and Safety Act).

A new section added to the Occupational Health and Safety Act covers workers not being required to wear high heel shoes, except those workers and performers in the entertainment and advertising industry.

Key Areas Of The Occupational Health And Safety Act

The following legislation is of importance to the workplace:

It is the responsibility of each training participant to make him/herself familiar with Ontario Labour Laws and Employment Standards.

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