A bill aimed at preventing employers in the service sector from skimming the tips of their employees has passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.
The so-called ‘tipping bill’–introduced by Beaches–East York Liberal MPP Arthur Potts–prohibits employees from taking any employee tips, except for those levied for the purposes of tip pooling, done to either standardize tip revenue among staff or to give a portion to other staff who don’t receive tips, such as cooks or hosts.
A similar bill was introduced by the former MPP for Potts’ riding, New Democrat Michael Prue, but never became law. Potts introduced this one two weeks after becoming an MPP last summer.
The legislation is modeled after laws on the books in Quebec and New Brunswick.
“I am delighted to fulfill my promise to pass the Protecting Employees’ Tips Act which will help regulate tips in our province,” Potts said after the vote. “I’m especially proud that we brought industry, employees and all provincial parties together to support this bill. By working together, we are providing certainty for those service industry workers and their employers where tips and gratuities are common.”
The bill has been met with support both by employees of the service sector, as well as the organization representing restaurant, hotel and motel owners.
“We are very pleased that Bill 12 passed to protect employees’ tips,” said Michael Vorobej of the Ottawa Servers’ Association.
Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association heralded legislation supported the bill, and also acknowledged his organization’s role in working to make the bill more viable.
“ORHMA supports the intent of Bill 12 – Protecting Employees’ Tips Act,” said Elenis. “The bill protects tip pooling for back of house staff and all employees and only makes it illegal for owners and managers who are not directly involved in the serving experience… The government agreed and supported our recommendation that where tips and gratuities are charged on a credit card and the employer must pay the credit card company a percentage or merchant fee on each sale, that the employer pays the employee the tip less the merchant fee cost of the gratuity tip component of the bill.”