Retiree Report December 2017

Retiree Chairperson’s Report– December  2017

Christmas is five days from now. I hope everyone has their shopping done. We, as a Retirees Board, are looking into the New Year with things we need to do and one major thing that needs to be looked at is replacing the chairs in the Retirees Centre. This will take a lot of money going in to New Year. We need to get a cost for doing this. So we will let you know the cost and how we are going to get the money to pay for the chairs and the time frame involved.

Ontario labour laws

Ontario’s Liberal government passed a host of changes to the province’s labour laws. Here are some highlights of the new legislation. It includes the center piece which is the minimum wage increase. The minimum wage rises from $11.60 an hour to $14 on Jan.1, 2018 then to $15 on Jan 1, 2019. Casual, part-time temporary and seasonal employees will be given the same pay as full-time employees for doing equal work. There are exemptions based on seniority and merit. There will be lower minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under 18. Hunting and fishing guides will also see their pay rise along with the general minimum wage.

Once an employee works for a company for five years, they will be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation. Personal emergency leave no longer only applies to workers at companies with 50 or more employees. All workers will get 10 days per year, two of them paid. Victims of domestic or sexual violence, or parents of children who have experienced or are threatened with such violence will get five days of paid leave and 17 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave. Employers will not be allowed to request a sick note from an employee taking a personal emergency leave. Parents whose children die will get unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks. It was previously only offered to parents when a child’s death was related to a crime.

Employers must pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours of notice, with weather-dependent work exempted. Employees can refuse shifts without repercussion if the employer gives them less than four days of notice. Employees on call must be paid three hours at their regular pay rate. Companies that misclassify workers as “independent contractors” instead of employees in order to skirt labour law obligations will be subject to fines. The legislation will ease restrictions on union certification and allow unions to access employee lists and certain contact information if the union can demonstrate it has the support of 20 per cent of employees. It makes it easier for care and community services workers, people in the building services sector and those who work through temp agencies to unionize. The maximum fines under the Ontario Labour Relations Act will increase from $2,000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations to $5,000 and $100,000. The maximum fine for employers who violate employment standards will increase. The government will publish the names of those who are fined.

In closing Merry Christmas to all you and Happy New Year as well.

Fred Dougan