On June 7, Ontario elected a majority Progressive Conservative provincial government, ending 15 years of Liberal administration in the province. While any new governing party brings legislative changes with it, the PC government led by Doug Ford is expected to be exceptionally different.
After a decade and a half in power—most of that time as a majority government—the former Liberal administration enacted several major changes that have profoundly affected Ontario workplaces: the AODA was enacted, Bill 168 implemented responsibilities for preventing violence and harassment, and Bill 132 expanded those responsibilities to cover sexual harassment. Even within the last six months, Bill 148 drastically overhauled key employment legislation, adding the three-week vacation entitlements for long-service employees, and expanding protected leaves, among other changes. When the Liberal Party first came to power in 2003, the minimum wage was $6.85 per hour—now it’s more than double that.
Now the PC government has a majority in the legislature, which means their agenda will be difficult for other parties to oppose. The sweeping changes and increased regulations and rules that the Liberal government introduced since 2003 are not likely to be repeated. However, although PC governments have a hands-off attitude towards business, Doug Ford has demonstrated a more populist bent, and may hold employers to account even as he promises to relax tax burdens. With so little to go on from the slim PC platform, Ontario businesses could be in for greater changes than we expect.
It's impossible to say exactly what will come in the next few months or years, but there are things your organization can be doing now in light of the change in leadership. Download our FREE Preparing for Unknown Legislation Guide which will help point you in the right direction.
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