Construction Collective Agreements Threatened Under Bill 66

It seems that the Ontario Conservative Government is not yet finished tinkering with our Employment Standards Legislation and the Labour Relations Act.

They have introduced “Bill 66 – Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act” which amends or repeals a number of pieces of legislation.

Significant changes will be made to the Labour Relations Act which will affect the relationship between unions, and municipalities and certain local boards, school boards, hospitals,colleges, universities and public bodies.

The Bill will deem these entities as “non-construction employers” which means they can now use either union or non-union construction companies, effectively cancelling any existing bargaining agreements that are in place.  

Even worse, if these employers have workers who are deemed as “construction workers” who are represented by a trade union, the trade union will no longer represent the worker, again cancelling any collective agreement which may bind the employer and union.

Changes to the Employment Standards Act will result in removal of the requirement for Director Approval for both Averaging of Hours and Extended Hours agreements with employees.  If passed, all that is needed is a written agreement between the parties (workers and employer).

The requirement to post the  Employment Standards Poster in the workplace is also being removed, although employers will still be required to provide a copy of the posterto all new employees.

Bill 66 will amend the Agricultural Employees Protection Act to include “Ornamental Horticulture” workers (persons who create ornamental plants, or landscape design) under the Act, meaning they will be covered by the legislation. Persons who work for a municipality are not included in this change.  Unions who represent these workers can continue to do so.   Changes are also coming to the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act. 

Stay tuned, we will do our best to keep you updated on the rapidly-changing legislation!