Last year the Ontario government proposed Bill 27: Working for Workers Act, 2021 (the "Act"). The bill introduced a number of changes to the Employment Standards Act, including the right for employees to disconnect after work hours and the prohibition of non-compete clauses in employment contracts. On December 2, 2021, the Act became law in Ontario.
The Right to Disconnect
In accordance with the Act, employers with twenty-five employees or more are required to create and implement a written policy that outlines disconnecting from work after hours. Employers were required to carry out and provide this policy to all employees by Thursday, June 2, 2022. Specifically, the Act defines "disconnecting from work" as not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be free from the performance of work.
If your company does not employ twenty-five or more employers, this policy is not required in your workplace. However, in coming years, employers that employ twenty-five or more staff starting on January 1 of any year must have a written policy on disconnecting from work before March 1 of that year. For example, starting January 1, 2023, employers with twenty-five or more staff must have their policy implemented by March 1, 2023.
In a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business determined that only 16% of surveyors have complied and implemented a policy at their workplace in accordance with the deadline of June 2. If you are an employer and your workplace still does not have a policy, or if you are an employee and you have questions about this law, feel free to contact Walker Law employment lawyers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.