Ontario employers should be aware of new employment legislation which may come into effect in the coming months. On February 28, 2022, Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022, was tabled by the Government of Ontario. Employers are reminded that this Bill is not yet law and may undergo several modifications to the current language by the time the Act is passed into law.
Nevertheless, if passed, Bill 88 would introduce the following notable changes to legislation:
- Amendment to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), mandating organizations with 25 or more employees to introduce a written policy to inform employees if their electronic activities are to be monitored, and if so under which circumstances, and the purposes for which the collected information may be used.
- The Bill would exclude certain business and information technology consultants from the protections of the ESA, including entitlement to termination or severance pay, if the consultant provides their services through a corporation or a sole proprietorship with a business name registered under the Business Names Act.
- Amendment of the rules around Reservist leaves of absence in the ESA. Rather than requiring six months of consecutive service prior to taking the job protected leave, Bill 88 seeks to shorten this time to three months of consecutive service. Furthermore, the Bill would extend the Reservist leave to employees participating in Canadian Armed Forces military skills training.
- Introduction of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, which would provide new rights for those workers who perform “digital platform work” meaning individuals who are offered and accept work through digital applications such as Uber, SkipTheDishes, TaskRabbit, or InstaCart, regardless of whether the workers are contractors or employees. Under the Act, workers would be provided with entitlement to the provincial minimum wage (presently $15.00), as well as protections of tips and gratuities earned, rights to information and notice around payment, and protections from reprisal for seeking to enforce such rights and protections.
- Amendment of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) to require employers to provide naloxone kits and comply with related requirements if the employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose at a workplace where that worker performs work for the employer. In addition, Bill 88 seeks to increase the maximum fines for OHSA violations from $100,000 to $1,500,000 for directors or officers of corporations and to $500,000 for other individuals.
If you have questions regarding Bill 88 and how it may impact your organization, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at Rodney Employment Law at [email protected] or complete our contact form here.