Bill 47 – Making Ontario Open for Business

Ontario government passes Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act
On November 21, 2018, the Ontario government passed the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 which makes significant changes to the apprenticeship and skilled trades system. This includes preparing for the wind-down of the College. You can read the Ministry’s announcement on modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system here, including their intention to propose a replacement model for the regulation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario by early 2019. Passage of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 means there are some immediate changes that come into effect.

You can see a synopsis of the Bill’s affect on the construction industry below. You can also CLICK HERE to view many of the key takeaways from the Act as reviewed by lawyers Jordan Kirkness and Susan MacMillan.

Journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios now 1:1
Effective immediately, all journeyperson
toapprentice ratios are 1:1 for the 33 construction trades that are subject to ratios. This means that employers and/or sponsors of these 33 trades can now begin to hire apprentices at a rate of 1:1 for each journeyperson.

Moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications
Also effective immediately is a moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications. This means that trades can no longer be referred to the Classification Roster for the trade classification and reclassification process. The government has committed to working with industry to gather feedback on an appropriate way to undertake trade classification reviews within the broader regulatory framework. We will update you as this process is clarified.

Ministry and College continue to deliver key services
Also, with the passage of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 discussions will begin about winding down the College. We would like to emphasize that at this time, the Ministry and the College will continue to deliver key services. Among other duties, the Ministry continues to register training agreements with apprentices, assess employer eligibility, and administer Certificate of Qualification exams. The College supports this work by continuing to issue skilled trades credentials (Certificates of Qualification and Statements of Membership), verify credentials at worksites across the province, and support labour mobility through credential verification.

Valid credentials remain a legal requirement
Valid College-issued credentials remain a requirement to engage in several trades under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. As such, the College will continue to process membership fees. Apprentices are also still required to maintain valid Statements of Membership with the College in order to hold active Registered Training Agreements with the Ministry.

To check the status of your membership, please access the College’s member portal at www.collegeoftrades.ca or contact the College at 1-855-299-0028 between Monday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Keeping the skilled trades community informed
Although the College continues to deliver the day-to-day functions required under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009, they are in a time of transition. With the goal of creating a stronger skilled trades system in Ontario, the Ministry and the College will work closely together to support any transition.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that will be in effect on January 1, 2019.

  • Scheduling changes that were to be effective Jan 1, 2019 were repealed. There will still be a requirement to pay 3 hours if the employee shows up, but the Principal Agreement already has language pertaining to that (article 804).
  • Minimum wage will remain at $14 until at least October 2020 when it becomes subject to an annual inflation adjustment.
  • Paid PEL days were repealed and replaced with the following for employees who have been with an employer for at least two consecutive weeks:
    • Three (3) unpaid days for personal illness, injury or medical emergency. Employers can request evidence reasonable in the circumstances including a medical note.
    • Three (3) unpaid days for Illness, injury or medical emergency of a family member, or urgent matter that concerns a family member.
    • Two (2) unpaid bereavement days for the death of a family member.
    • For all of those leaves, it is clear that if an employment contract provides the same benefit, the employee is deemed to have take the leave under the ESA.

 Impact: No paid PEL days will be required after January 1, 2019 Therefore, if you are paying 0.8% instead of paying the two days, that can cease on January 1, 2019. 

It’s best practice to advise employees currently receiving an additional 0.8% on their cheques that as of January 1, 2019 the additional amount will be gone.