On April 3, 2019, Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019 (“Bill 66”) received Royal Assent and is now law. Bill 66 made changes to a number of statutes. The changes to the ESA have removed barriers to employers entering into excess hours of work and overtime averaging agreements with their employees.
- Excess Hours of Work Agreements – Previously, the ESA required employers to seek approval from the Director of Employment Standards (“Director”) if they wished to enter into excess hours of work agreements with their employees to allow them to work in more than 48 hours a week. Bill 66 has eliminated that requirement. Employers are still required to obtain employees’ written consent when entering into excess hours of work agreements.
- Overtime Averaging Agreements – An overtime averaging agreement allows an employer to average an employee’s hours of work over a specified period of time for the purposes of calculating the employee’s entitlement to overtime pay. Previously, the ESA required employers to seek Director approval to enter into these agreements with employees. Bill 66 has eliminated that requirement. Employers are still required to obtain employees’ written consent when entering into averaging agreements. The averaging period in an averaging agreement can not be longer than four weeks.
Averaging agreements require a specified start and end date. For non-unionized employees the averaging agreement must expire within two years of the start date. For unionized employees where a collective agreement applies, the averaging agreement must expire no later than the day a subsequent collective agreement applies.
ESA Poster Requirements – Employers are no longer required to post a poster in their workplace to provide information to employees about the ESA. Copies of the most recent poster will still need to be provided to employees.