Bill 88: shortly titled as the Working for Workers Act, 2022, received Royal Assent on April 11, 2022. The bill introduced significant changes to several employment-related statutes. So, what does it mean to employers in Ontario?
1. New Digital Platform Workers Rights Act, 2022
Bill 88: Working for Workers Act, 2022 enacts the Digital Platform Workers Rights Act, 2022. This Act establishes rights for workers who perform digital platform work.
Digital platform work is defined as “the provision for payment ride share, delivery, courier or other prescribed service by workers who are offered work assignments by an operator through the use of a digital platform.” The new Act provides the following worker rights and obligations, among others:
- The right to information
- The right to a recurring pay period and pay day
- The right to minimum wage
- The right to amounts earned by the worker and to tips and other gratuities
- The right to notice of removal from an operator’s digital platform
- The right to resolve digital platform work-related disputes in Ontario
- The right to be free from reprisal
The rest of the Act sets out rules, processes, and requirements regarding record-keeping, director liability, complaints and enforcement, collections, and offences and prosecutions.
2. Amendments to Employment Standards Act, 2000
The Employment Standards Act, 2000 is amended as follows:
- Removing Certain Consultants:
The ESA is amended to provide that the Act does not apply to certain business and information technology consultants.
- Electronic Monitoring Policy:
The Act requires employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy regarding electronic monitoring of employees.
The Electronic Monitoring Policy must include:
- Information on whether the employer electronically monitors employees.
- Description of how and in what circumstances the employer may electronically monitor employees.
- Purposes for which information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used.
- The date the policy was prepared and the date any changes were made to the policy
A copy of the written policy must be given to each employee within 30 days of preparing the policy. If an existing written policy is changed, a copy must be given within 30 days of the changes being made.
Similarly, every new employee must be provided with a copy of the written policy within 30 days of being hired.
The deadline: The policy will need to be in place by October 11, 2022.
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c. Expanded Reservist Leaves of Absence: As per the new amendment, an employee is entitled to reservist leave if the employee is participating in Canadian Armed Forces military skills training.
Employees become eligible for reservist leave of absence after 3 consecutive months of employment (previously six months).
3. Revised Timelines Amendments to the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006
The Act is amended to establish new timelines within which regulated professions must respond to applications for registration from domestic labour mobility applicants unless an exemption is granted.
- Applications must be acknowledged in writing within 10 days.
- Registration decisions must be made within 30 days of receiving the application.
4. Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Act
Various amendments are made to the Act in respect of providing Naloxone kits and fines applicable for convictions.
- Provide Naloxone Kits
Employers must provide naloxone kits if the employer becomes aware of a worker having an opioid overdose at a workplace.
- Increase in Penalties
The maximum fine applicable for convictions under the OHS Act is increased from $100,000 to $1,500,000 for directors or officers of corporations and to $500,000 for other individuals. In addition, a list of aggravating factors to be considered in determining a penalty is also added.
The limitation period for instituting a prosecution is extended from one year to two years.
If you have questions regarding Working for Workers Act, 2022, please book a free consultation with our HR expert.
Working for Workers Act, 2022 – Quick facts:
- Bill 88: The Working for Workers Act, 2022 received Royal Assent on April, 11, 2022.
- The Act requires all employers with 25 or more workers to have a written policy in place on electronic monitoring of employees. Deadline: October 11, 2022
- Employees become eligible for reservist leave of absence after 3 consecutive months of employment (previously six) w.e.f April 11, 2022.
- Amendments to Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 to establish response timelines to applications for registrations – w.e.f April 11, 2022
- Employers must provide naloxone kits if the employer becomes aware of a worker having an opioid overdose. Increased Penalties for violations in Occupational Health and Safety Act – w.e.f July 1, 2022
- Business consultants and IT consultants (meeting certain criteria), will be excluded from certain minimum standards of the ESA. w.e.f January 1, 2023
- Not yet in force: Bill 88 enacts the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 (the “DPWRA”) and sets new minimum standards or digital platform workers.
- These new requirements follow the amendments introduced by the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which came into force in December last year.