Legal News

Changes to Employment Standards Act Introduced

On May 5, 2003 the Government introduced Bill 37, the Skills Development and Labour Statutes Amendment Act, which amends both the Employment Standards Act and the Worker’s Compensation Act. Changes to the Employment Standards Act include:

Youth Employment

  • Employers will no longer require a permit from the Director of Employment Standards to employ young people between the ages of 12 to 15. Under the Bill, only parental consent is required. To employ children under 12 years of age, employers are still required to obtain the Director’s permission.
  • Employers must prove a child’s age and obtain parental permission before the child’s employment starts. Employers who violate these rules face penalties of $500, $2500 and $10,000.


  • Protection of Minimum Wage Employees: Employers are now prohibited from using earnings from one pay period to top up another pay period where the employee does not earn the minimum wage. For example, if a commission salesperson does not have any earnings in a pay period, he or she is entitled to be paid at least minimum wage, and the employer cannot use earnings from another pay period to make up the difference.
  • Time Bank: There is no longer a 6 month time limit on dealing with overtime wages credited to an employee’s time bank. The change enables an employer to close an employee’s time bank with notice and requires the employer to deal with the overtime wages credited to that time bank within 6 months of closing it.
  • Liability for unpaid wages: The amendment clarifies that liability for unpaid wages extends to a director or officer of an associated corporation, firm syndicate or association under s. 95 of the Act.

New Rules for Dealing With Determinations and Appeals

  • There is now a 30 day time limit for the director to vary or cancel a determination that has been appealed.
  • A person appealing a determination must now provide the tribunal with the director’s written reasons for the determination. The tribunal may now send a matter back to the original panel or to another panel.
  • The grievance procedure under a collective agreement is no longer available with respect to disputes arising from the interpretation or operation of the Employment Standards Act if incorporated into a collective agreement or deemed to be incorporated into a collective agreement

Director’s Powers

  • The director can no longer authorize an assignment of wages.
  • The director is now allowed to treat associated entities as one employer under the Act.

Amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act

Government’s proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act include:

  • Providing monthly benefits for life to surviving partners of deceased workers, including those without children. The benefits are based on a portion of the monthly benefit the deceased worker would have received for a permanent total disability, with the percentage increasing according to the survivor’s age.
  • Increasing the age at which benefits paid for dependent children end, to 19 years from 18 years for children not attending school, and to 25 years from 21 years, for children in school.
  • Allowing surviving dependants to retain 50% of their Canada Pension Plan survivor benefits instead of losing 100%. A surviving partner will keep his/her own Canada Pension Plan retirement benefit rather than having it deducted from their WCB benefit.
  • Ensuring lay advocates can advise or act on behalf of employers and employees.