Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Creating Fair Workplaces by Expanding Personal Emergency Leave

Archived News Release

Ontario Creating Fair Workplaces by Expanding Personal Emergency Leave

Province Proposing to Ban Requirement for Doctor’s Notes

Ontario is creating more fairness and opportunity for workers by proposing paid personal emergency leave for every worker, and banning employers from requiring employees to provide a doctor's note for taking personal emergency leave. 

Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, and John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South, were at Somerset West Community Health Centre in Ottawa today to talk with patients about the government's plan to create fair workplaces and better jobs.

If passed, these changes would be in effect on January 1, 2018, and would:

  • Expand personal emergency leave to include a minimum of 10 days, including two paid days, per year for all workers.
  • Ban employers from requiring a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave.
  • Provide a leave of absence of up to 17 weeks without the fear of losing their job when an employee or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence.

These changes are part of Ontario's plan for Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs, which includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

Ontario's ongoing work to improve the lives of Ontario families also includes creating 100,000 new licensed child care spaces, making prescription medications free for all children and youth 25 years of age or younger, and making tuition free for more than 210,000 students through the new OSAP.

Creating fair workplaces and better jobs across Ontario is part of our plan to grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, responds to the final report of the Changing Workplaces review, conducted by Special Advisors C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray over the past two years. It was the first-ever independent review of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.
  • Personal emergency leave currently applies only in workplaces with 50 or more employees. Under the proposed amendments, this threshold would be eliminated.
  • Ontario's general minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.
  • Studies show that a higher minimum wage results in less employee turnover, which increases business productivity. It also boosts the economy through the improved purchasing power of thousands of workers.
  • Beginning January 1, 2018, all children and youth 24 years of age or younger will be able to get their prescription medications for free by simply showing their Ontario health card number and a prescription. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.

Additional Resources


“Through our Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Plan, we are taking the next step toward making sure that every hard-working person across the province can share in Ontario’s prosperity. Increasing personal emergency leave days will help workers protect their health, care for family members and help make ends meet. The onus shouldn’t be on a sick worker to have to make their way to a doctor’s office to prove to their employer that they aren’t well enough for work.”

Kevin Flynn

Minister of Labour

“The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will improve the health of all workers in Ottawa. The proposed changes will ensure every worker in Ontario will be treated fairly, allowing them to take the time needed to properly address personal emergencies and illness.”

John Fraser

Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care

Media Contacts



Government Health and Wellness Jobs and Employment