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Legislation brings bevy of changes, concerns

New legislation in Ontario would bring a host of changes for staffing buyers and staffing firms — including equal pay for temps, one week notice when an assignment ends, greater access to temps for unions and a higher minimum wage.

However, the “Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act 2017” is already raising concerns.

The Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services has called for an economic impact analysis by a third party to ensure the province isn’t risking jobs, raising consumers’ costs or causing economic hardship because of over-regulation.

“Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth,” Mary McIninch, executive director of government relations at ACSESS, said in a statement. “That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers.”

According to an announcement [1] from the Ministry of Labour last week, the act would:

For more, on the potential impact of the legislation on employers, see this report [2] by employment law firm Littler Mendelson.

Backers of the law aim to improve the lot of workers.

“Our government is making changes to Ontario’s labor laws to better support people who work in temporary help, part-time, minimum wage and contract jobs,” Harinder Malhi, member of the provincial parliament representing Brampton-Springdale, said in a statement. “Changes like expanded personal emergency leave and increased vacation entitlements will ensure Ontario workers are treated fairly on the job.”

Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn cited the need for fairness.

“These changes will ensure every hard-working Ontarian has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity,” Flynn said. “Fairness and decency must continue to be the defining values of our workplaces.”

However, the United Steelworkers Union argued that while the increase in minimum wage is good, the legislation does not go far enough [3] in providing employees the means to form unions and bargain for improvements in the workplace.