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Working for Workers Act – Take Five

 

On May 6, 2024, the Government of Ontario tabled Bill 190, Working for Workers Five Act (“Bill 190”), its proposed fifth installment to a series of legislative changes, which follows the Working for Workers Four Act (which passed less than two months ago), the Working for Workers Act, 2023, the Working for Workers Act, 2022, and the Working for Workers Act, 2021.  

Bill 190 is moving through the legislature and is in its Second Reading. Below, we have prepared a brief summary for employers of some of the main changes being proposed to employment standards legislation and occupational health and safety legislation:

Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”)

  • Employers who advertise a publicly advertised job posting will be required to include in the posting: (1) a statement in the posting disclosing whether or not the posting is for an existing vacancy; and (2) such other information to be prescribed by regulation (if any). Bill 190 contemplates an exception for publicly advertised job postings that meet certain criteria prescribed by regulation, however, there is currently no accompanying regulation.
  • Employers who interview an applicant for a publicly advertised job posting will be required to provide the applicant with prescribed information within a prescribed timeline. Currently, there is no proposed regulation setting out what information and timeline is prescribed.
    • Bill 190 also imposes a new record retention requirement on an employer to retain copies of all prescribed information for three (3) years after the day the information was provided to the applicant.
  • Employers will be prohibited from asking an employee who takes sick leave under the ESA for a certificate from a qualified health practitioner as evidence to supports the employee’s entitlement to take such leave.
  • The cap on a fine for individuals who contravene the ESA will be increased from $50,000 to $100,000. 

Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”)

  • The OHSA will be amended to expressly provide that the OHSA applies to telework performed in or about a private residence.
  • The definition of “industrial establishment” will be amended to exclude an office located in a private residence.
  • The definition of “workplace harassment” and “workplace sexual harassment” will be amended to include harassment and sexual harassment that occurs virtually through the use of information and communications technology.
  • Expand the scope of posting that can be done electronically subject to certain requirements: (1) employers must provide workers with direction on where and how to access the information; and (2) the information must be posted in an electronic format that can be readily accessed by workers in the workplace.
  • Employers will be required to ensure that washroom facilities provided by the employer for the use of workers be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, and maintain records of this.

Bill 190 also proposes changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurances Act, 1997, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, which are not covered in this bulletin.

We expect Bill 190 - Working for Workers Five Act to pass in short order. As the law moves through the legislative process, significant amendments will be noted in future bulletins.

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact any member of our Labour & Employment Group.