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HRAI has engaged with the new Ontario government to express concerns about recent changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA).  Bill 148 – the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act – amends the ESA in a number of ways.

One specific planned change that has created a unique problem is the stipulation that employers pay on-call employees for a minimum of three hours for time spent on call, whether they work that time or not. The change poses a major concern to independent contractors in the HVAC industry who offer emergency service 24/7, usually 365 days a year, to deal with emergencies, such as no heat or no A/C. Although always available, technicians may not actually be called out for an emergency during any given shift.

The new ESA rules will require these businesses – many of which have multiple personnel on standby -- to pay many additional hours to employees without receiving productive, billable work in return. This cost structure will not be sustainable for service contractors and will likely result in some major re-structuring of services that will ultimately hurt consumers.

Recognizing that the new Government of Ontario has already committed to lessening the burden of regulation on small businesses in Ontario, HRAI has submitted these concerns to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and the Ministry of Labour, asking for a retraction of reconsideration of this element of the new legislation, which is scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2019.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231, ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.