New Developments in Ontario Employment Law via the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023

Introduction

The Working for Workers Act[1] is legislation by the Ontario government that amends various Ontario legislation in an attempt to providegreater protections and benefits to employees, particularly those in low-wage employment.

On November 14, 2023, the Ontario government introduced Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023.[2] This Bill, if passed, would drastically expand on the measures taken in the Working for Workers Acts from 2021-2023. The Ontario government has also announced additional consultations. A summary of some of the changes, the consultations, and the significance for employers can be found below.

The Bill and its Changes

Bill 149 will feature the following changes:

  1. Prohibiting the use of Canadian work experience as a requirement in job postings or application forms, in an effort to increase the employment of internationally-trained immigrants;
  2. Requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings;
  3. Requiring employers to disclose if artificial intelligence (A.I.) is used during the hiring process;
  4. Enabling increases to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefit indexes;
  5. Prohibiting unpaid trial shifts for employees, effectively ensuring employees are paid for training;
  6. Confirming that a restaurant may not withhold, deduct, or require return of wages from a server when a customer leaves the establishment without paying for their meal;

Additional Announcement

The Ontario government also announced that it will be launching consultations to assess additional changes.[3] These consultations are regarding the following:

  1. Restricting the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in settlement of cases of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct or violence. Non-Disclosure Agreements are commonly used tools to prevent workers from speaking out about workplace issues; and
  2. The creation of a new, job-protected leave for critical illnesses (i.e. cancer) to match the length of the 26-week federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

Significance for Employers

As Ontario continues to create new legislation and regulations regarding the treatment of employees, it is imperative that employers stay up to date. Expansion of employee rights and protections in Ontario means that employers must be proactive in reviewing their obligations when dealing with employees before and after hiring said employees. It may be too early to change current practices to be in line with the prospective Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, but it is beneficial to be aware of prospective changes that may come later on. For instance, there are many current job postings that do not show the salary range of a position. That will change should Bill 149 be passed.

The lawyers at Walker Law Professional Corporation stay up to date on the current regulations of employers to assist you in your decision-making. Contact us for a consultation today.

[1] S.O. 2023, SO 2023, c 15, as amended.

[2] https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-43/session-1/bill-149

[3] https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1003820/working-for-workers-four-act-2023

Tags: Employment Litigation Law

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