This week, the Government of Ontario passed the Working for Workers 2021 Act. The goal of the bill is to make the province the best place for people to work, live and raise a family.
According to Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skill Development, the bill was passed to ensure our labour laws keep pace with the acceleration of new technology, automation, and remote work.
“This legislation is another step towards building back a better province and cementing Ontario’s position as a global leader, for others to follow, as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.” McNaughton said in an issued statement.
What are the legislative changes for Ontario businesses?
Require employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy about employees disconnecting from their job at the end of the workday to help employees spend more time with their families.
Ban the use of non-compete agreements that prevent people from exploring other work opportunities in order to make it easier for workers to advance in their careers.
Help remove barriers, such as Canadian experience requirements, for internationally trained individuals to get licenced in a regulated profession and get access to jobs that match their qualifications and skills.
Require recruiters and temporary help agencies to have a licence to operate in the province to help protect vulnerable employees from being exploited.
Require business owners to allow delivery workers to use a company’s washroom if they are delivering or picking up items. This supports the delivery drivers, couriers and truck drivers who have kept our essential supplies and economy going throughout the pandemic.
Allow surpluses in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Insurance Fund to be distributed over certain levels to businesses, helping them cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
Enable the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to work with entities, like the Canada Revenue Agency, to streamline remittances for businesses, enabling a way to give them an efficient one-stop-shop for submitting premiums and payroll deductions.
Allow the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to collect information related to the agri-food workforce to ensure the government can enhance the coordination of services such as vaccination and testing, and respond to issues that may arise.
What does this mean for my business?
As a business owner, you should familiarize yourself with these new changes and find the ways they could affect your business.
If you have over 25 employees, a written policy for disconnecting from work should be drafted by March and given to employees within 30 days
For best practice, a disconnecting from work policy should be drafted regardless of company size. Try polling your team members for input!
Do you use non-compete clauses to stop employees from looking for new opportunities and higher salaries? These clauses are now banned. Be sure to have a conversation with affected employees about this!
What are your thoughts on the new legislation? Let us know!