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Ontario Proposes New Workplace Leave

Oct 25, 2017

The Ontario Legislature is currently considering a new domestic/sexual violence workplace leave. If passed, Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act, 2017, would permit workers to take a leave of absence of up to 17 weeks per calendar year if they or their child experiences or is threatened with domestic/sexual violence.

This change would add to the protections already afforded to employees based on family status and disability (such as due to domestic violence-related injury) under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

While the proposed expansion is a step in the right direction, there are several restrictions on the entitlement, including:

  • Employees must have at least 13 consecutive weeks of service;
  • Employers have no obligation to pay employees during the leave; and
  • The leave can only be used for the following purposes:
    • Seeking medical attention
    • Obtaining assistance from victim services
    • Undertaking professional counselling
    • Relocating; and
    • Seeking legal or law enforcement assistance.

Bill 148 has passed second reading and may be subject to further changes. We’ll monitor and continue to post about the Bill as it continues its way through the legislature.

If you or a family member have experienced domestic or sexual violence and are not being accommodated at work, please contact us here. Symes Street & Millard has extensive experience obtaining accommodations and/or compensation for employees whose rights in the workplace have been breached.


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