Advocacy & Bill 148

Written by:  Gwyneth James MBA CPA, CGA  Senior Partner

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, membership-driven association that advocates on behalf of the Peterborough business community. Members of Chambers across Ontario, including yours truly, loudly and firmly stated their displeasure with one aspect of their government’s Bill 148 which introduced several updates to the Employment Standards Act.

That aspect was the public holiday pay formula – the method used by employers to compensate employees for time off (or worked) on statutory holidays. The new method looked only at the employee’s prior pay period and paid an average of the amount of that paycheque divided by the numbers of days worked in that period. That presented a huge issue for employers of part-time and casual employees because that individual now could receive as much as a full day’s pay for the holiday if they only worked one day in that prior pay period. Payroll costs for some businesses were skyrocketing and that had not been the government’s intention.

Several meetings, conference calls, letters and emails later, the Minister of Labour determined that this part of Bill 148 needed further review. It was announced that the method used to calculate statutory (or public) holiday pay would be rolled back to the old method for the period July 1 to December 31, 2018.

This means that the Victoria Day holiday was calculated using the new method, but Canada Day and subsequent statutory holidays will use the pre-2018 method of an average of pay over the previous four work weeks divided by 20.

Advocacy does work and it is ongoing by business organizations like the Chamber. Whether you add your voice through membership or not, submissions to the Ministry of Labour are encouraged to ensure that when the review period is completed, the method used to pay employees for statutory holidays is fair to all employees and employers.

For more information, please refer to this bulletin posted by the Ministry of Labour:  Click here 

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