Back to the Future – Public Holiday Changes Reversed

Written by on May 09, 2018.

As we wrote in January, recent changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) under Bill 148 included a new method for calculating Public Holiday Pay. However, after widespread criticism from employers, the Ontario government announced Monday that it would be conducting a review of the Public Holiday Pay system. Pending this review, as of July 1, 2018, the former system for calculating Public Holiday Pay will be reintroduced. The government has already passed the Regulation effecting this change, which simply states:

The employee’s public holiday pay for a given public holiday shall be equal to the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to the employee in the four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.

The Bill 148 method required that employers calculate Public Holiday Pay based on the wages the employee earned in the last pay period before the public holiday, divided by the number of days the employee actually worked. This meant, for example, that a person who worked one shift a week received a full shift’s pay for a public holiday, significantly increasing Public Holiday Pay for many part-time, temporary and casual employees.

As noted above, the reintroducing of the old Public Holiday System will come into effect on Canada Day (July 1, 2018), and so Victoria Day (May 21, 2018) will be calculated based on the Bill 148 formula.