Ontario Government Passes The Working For Workers Act, 2022 With Important Changes For Employers



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On Monday, April 11, 2022 Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022 received Royal Assent and came into force.
Canada Employment and HR
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On Monday, April 11, 2022 Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022 (the "Act") received Royal Assent and came into force. The Act is intended to be a part of the Ontario governments continued response to the recommendations contained in a report from the Ontario Workforce Advisory Committee. Previously the government passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 which requires employers with 25 or more employees to implement a right to disconnect policy by June 2, 2022. This Act, like its predecessor, makes several notable changes to the workplace through the creation and modification of legislation.

Amendment to the ESA to Enact a Policy on Electronic Monitoring

The Act creates a new obligation on employers with 25 or more employees to have a policy, in writing, regarding any electronic monitoring. Employers have until October 11, 2023 to put their policies in place. Following that, any employer with more than 25 employees as of January 1st will have until March 1st of that year to implement policy. The policy requires employers to advise employees whether they are being monitored and, if they are, the circumstances of the monitoring and how the information they collect will be used.

Creation of the Digital Platform for Workers Rights Act, 2022

The Act introduces the Digital Platform for Workers Rights Act, 2022. This creates several rights for workers who accept work through a digital platform. Digital platform work includes, but is not limited to, workers who accept payment for ride share, delivery and courier. While the New Digital Platform for Workers Rights Act, 2022 will eventually come into force, it is unclear when it will take full effect.

The New Digital Platform for Workers Rights Act, 2022 creates several rights for digital platform workers such as:

  • the right to minimum wage;
  • the right to amounts earned by the worker and to tips and other gratuities;
  • the right to a recurring pay period and pay day;
  • the right to be free from reprisal;
  • the right to resolve work-related disputes in Ontario; and,
  • the right to notice of removal from an operator's digital platform.

Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act ("OHSA")

The OHSA was amended by the Act to require employers to provide naloxone kits if the employer becomes aware, or reasonably ought to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose at the workplace. A date has not yet been determined as to when employers will be required to provide naloxone kits.

The Act additionally increased the maximum fines for contraventions of the OHSA from $100,000 to $1,500,000 for directors and officers of a corporation. For all other individuals the fine increased from $100,000 to $500,000. Additionally, the limitation period for health and safety prosecutions has extended from one (1) year to two (2) years from the later of the date of the occurrence and the day the inspector becomes aware of the alleged offence. The increased fines and extended limitation period will take effect on July 1, 2022.

The Removal of Certain Business Consultants and Information Technology Consultants

The Act also amends the ESA to exclude certain business and information technology consultants. The changes are subject to certain criteria such as minimum compensation requirements but it will not take full effect January 1, 2023.

The Act defines "business consultant" as an individual who provides advice or services to a business or organization in respect of its performance, including advice or services in respect of the operations, profitability, management, structure, processes, finances, accounting, procurements, human resources, environmental impacts, marketing, risk management, compliance or strategy of the business or organization.

The Act defines "information technology consultant" as an individual who provides advice or services to a business or organization in respect of its information technology systems, including advice about or services in respect of planning, designing, analyzing, documenting, configuring, developing, testing and installing the business or organization's information technology systems.

Other Notable Changes

The Act also implements the following legislative changes:

  • Reservist will now be entitled to leaves of absence after 3 consecutive months of being employed, a requirement that was reduced from 6 consecutive months. This amendment to the ESA came into force on April 11, 2022;
  • The Act also amends the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 to establish timelines in which regulated professions must respond to applications for registration from domestic labour mobility applicants. Now under the amendment applications for registration must be acknowledged within 10 days and registration decisions must be made within 30 days of the regulated profession receiving the application. This amendment also came into force on date of royal assent, April 11, 2022.

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.

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