Ontario’s “Changing Workplaces Review and “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017” – Impacts for APCC Members –
On May 30th, the Ontario Liberal government announced a package of proposed legislative changes to how work and contract labour is governed in Ontario. These proposed changes emerged from the conclusion of the Changing Workplaces Review, and contain a number of measures that will likely impact Ontario-based APCC members.
While the Changing Workplaces Review took pains to indicate they wished to avoid unintended consequences on true Independent Contractors, the APCC sees several of the proposed measures as potentially threatening to our members.
The key issues to highlight are:
Misclassification as a Priority Issue
The government has indicated that it will make contractor misclassification a priority enforcement issue and increase penalties to Client organizations. While misclassification is already prohibited, APCC members should expect more scrutiny and potentially interference in their Client engagements.
Reverse Onus for Client Organizations
Where the government perceives a potential misclassification between a Client organization and a Contractor, it intends to institute “Reverse Onus”, which impose a defacto employee classification, unless the Client is able to prove otherwise. Simply put, this means that if the government suspects a small business Contractor might in fact be an employee, it will be the Client Company’s responsibility to prove this is not true.
APCC believes this Reverse Onus will create a new risk specific to engaging small or Independent Contractors, and will affect the willingness of Client Organizations to engage with APCC members going forward.
Increased Enforcement and Administration
The government intends to combine legislation, and empower the Ministry of Labour to increase its proactive enforcement initiatives for contractor misclassification, including on site spot checks, audits, inspections and compliance campaigns. This will mean expanding labour related resources and increasing both the frequency of investigations as well as the penalties involved.
Failure to Address Current Ambiguity
The current framework for assessing misclassification is severely outdated and the Government has declined this opportunity for proposing a clear, and fair framework for the many small businesses and Independent Contractors seeking to build an independent consulting business.
For many of APCC’s members, an undesired employee classification is a severe event, that can disrupt their livelihood and have significantly negative effects on any pension, health benefits or growth planning organized around their independent business.
It is 2017, and it is time to update the prevailing ambiguous contractor/employee assessment frameworks, many of which are rooted in case law decisions that are more than 50 years out of sync with the Changing World of Work that this effort sought to address.
Tell Us What You Think!
The Ontario Government has indicated it plans to introduce the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 during Fall 2017, and bring these proposed changes into law. Given this timeline, there is still an opportunity to communicate to the government your views on their proposed changes.
Ahead of then, the APCC has prepared a survey to its membership to better understand your views on these proposed changes.
Make your Voice Heard
If you are concerned about the legislation, then we need to hear from you. APCC is looking for individuals that would be interested in joining its letter writing campaign, and potentially acting as a public spokesperson on this topic.
Email info@APCConline.com to let us know you are interested!
Members are strongly encouraged to reach out to the APCC to share their concerns and to find out how they can become involved in engagement with the government. We will continue to monitor the proposed legislation and to share updates as new developments occur.