On October 25, 2021, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“Bill 27”). Bill 27 contains a series of proposals to amend legislation and provide increased employment protection across the province. Notably, the proposals include:
(1) Amending the Employment Standards Act, 2000, to:
a. impose a requirement on employers that employ 25 or more employees to have a written policy with respect to disconnecting from work. The term “disconnecting from work” is defined to mean 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.
b. prohibit employers from entering into employment contracts or other agreements that are, or that include, a non-compete agreement (with certain exceptions).
(2) Amending the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006, to prohibit regulated professions from including Canadian experience requirements as qualifications for registration unless an exemption from the prohibition is granted.
(3) Amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require the owner of a workplace to provide access to a washroom to persons making deliveries to or from the workplace (with exceptions).
While the proposals in Bill 27 are not yet law, they indicate a growing push in society for more equitable workplaces and for the ever-elusive ‘work-life balance’. At this time, there is no indication of British Columbia following suit, but we can expect that if Bill 27 receives Royal Assent, residents of British Columbia will feel a push for similar efforts in our province.
Should you have any questions about Bill 27, please reach out to the authors or a member of our employment law team.