On November 14, the Ontario government tabled the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, which proposes changes to workplace laws in Ontario. These changes include:
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)
- Trial Periods. The definition of “employee” will be revised to expressly include individuals completing a “trial period” for an employer. Absent an exemption, employees on trial periods will be subject to minimum standards under the ESA, such as minimum wage, overtime and hours of work restrictions.
- Job Postings. Publicly advertised job postings will be subject to new requirements:
- They must include expected compensation for the advertised position or the range of expected compensation for the position.
- They must disclose whether the employer uses artificial intelligence to screen, assess or select applicants for the position.
- They must not include any job requirements related to Canadian experience. This prohibition on Canadian experience job requirements also applies to job application forms.
Employers will also be required to retain copies of their publicly advertised job postings for three years after access to the posting by the general public is removed.
These requirements will be subject to conditions, limitations, restrictions, and exceptions to be prescribed in regulation.
- Wage Deductions for Customer Theft. Wage deduction rules will be clarified to expressly prohibit deductions from employee wages where a customer of a restaurant, gas station, or other establishment leaves the establishment without paying for the goods or services. For example, a restaurant employer would be expressly prohibited from deducting the wages of a server when a customer “dines and dashes.”
- Tips. Payment methods for tips and other gratuities will be subject to express rules. Additionally, employers who pool/share employee tips with the employer (or a director or shareholder of the employer) will be required to post their tip sharing/pooling policy in the workplace. A copy of the policy must be retained for three years after the policy ceases to be in effect.
Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022
- Regulation-Making Authority. The Ontario government will have expanded authority to create regulations for “digital platform workers” – workers who provide ride share, delivery, courier or other prescribed services. The government will be permitted to create rules on:
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
- Presumption for firefighters and fire investigators. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) will be amended to add a presumption that primary-site esophageal cancer is an occupational disease for firefighters and fire investigators.
- Indexing Factors. The Ontario government will have expanded authority to prescribe additional “indexing factors” for WSIA benefits. This will enable the government to establish indexing increases higher than the annual rate of inflation.
Bill 149 is still making its way through Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, so it is possible the above changes may be modified prior to the bill being passed. Stay tuned for further updates, including details on when these new changes will be coming into force.