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Working for Workers Act, 2021

Region: Ontario Answer # 1686

On December 2, 2021 Ontario’s Bill 27, Working for Workers’ Act, 2021 became law.

The Act amends a number of statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and introduces several changes to employment laws in Ontario. This includes the following:

1. Right to Disconnect Written Policy

The Act makes it mandatory for Ontario business with 25 employees or more to have a written “Disconnect from Work” policy. An up-to-date copy is to be provided to employees before March 1 of each calendar year. The policy should outline what the employer’s expectations are regarding working outside of regular working hours. “Disconnecting from work” is defined as “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.”

2. Banning non-competition clauses

Non-competition clauses, also known as non-compete clauses, are contractual agreements whereby an employee agrees not to compete with an employer once employment has ended. These clauses often include details such as how long the prohibition on competition will last, and in what geographical location.

Employment contracts entered into after October 25, 2021 can no longer contain non-compete agreements, except for those made with the highest-ranking executives of a company, and in the context of a sale of a business.

3. Licensing of foreign worker help agencies

The Act amends the ESA to require foreign worker help agencies and recruiters to obtain a specific license to operate in Ontario.

4. Help for internationally trained foreign workers

According to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Act helps “remove many significant barriers internationally-trained immigrants face, such as the requirement for Canadian work experience, when attempting to get licenced in certain regulated professions and trades such as law, accounting, architecture, engineering, electrical and plumbing.”

5. Require businesses to allow truckers and delivery couriers to access washrooms in the businesses they serve

Another significant new right under the Act is the amendment to the OHSA
requiring business owners to allow delivery workers to use a company’s washroom if they are delivering or picking up items.

Get help

For more information on the Working for Workers’ Act, 2021 refer to the Government of Ontario’s website, Ontario.ca or view the Act.

Other laws affecting the workplace govern health and safety, human rights, retirement and health benefits, workers’ compensation, and employment insurance, to name a few. For more information, visit the Employment Standards office at the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development  website. For legal help and assistance, contact an employment lawyer.

A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

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