Ontario’s recently introduced Working for Workers Act, 2022 (the “Act”) has received Royal Assent and is now in force. The Act creates new legislation, amends numerous existing pieces of legislation, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and introduces several new requirements that employers must be aware of. These include the following:
- Increase in minimum wage – On October 1, 2022, the general minimum wage will increase by $0.50 to $15.50 per hour. In addition, the student minimum wage will increase to $14.60 per hour and homeworkers wage will increase to $17.05 per hour.
- Introduction of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 – This legislation will establish certain rights for workers who perform digital platform work, such as Uber drivers and food delivery people. Specifically, it will provide these workers with:
- The right to information regarding how their pay is calculated and paid as well as any factors used to determine work assignments and the consequences, if any, that a rating system has on the worker;
- The right to recurring pay periods and a standard payday;
- The right to general 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 work-related disputes in Ontario;
- The right to be free from reprisal for asserting their rights under this legislation; and
- A process for filing complaints for breaches of the legislation.
- Amendments the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) – The Act makes numerous amendments to OHSA which employers should be aware of.
- First, it introduces a requirement that employers equip workplaces with a naloxone kit, which is an opioid antidote and can reverse the potentially fatal effects of an overdose, if the employer becomes aware, or ought to reasonably be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose in a workplace.
- Second, the Act increased fines applicable for convictions under the OHSA. The maximum fine is increased from $100,000 to $1,500,000 for directors or officers of corporations and to $500,000 for other individuals. A list of aggravating factors to be considered in determining a penalty is also added and the limitation period for instituting a prosecution is extended from one year to two years.
- Amendments to the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 – The Act introduces an expedited process for regulated professionals in other provinces to become registered to work in their profession in Ontario. The regulated professional’s governing body must make a decision on the candidate’s registration within 30 business days of receiving the application for registration.
- Written Policy for Electronic Monitoring – As outlined in our March newsletter, the ESA is being amended to introduce the requirement for employers who employ 25 or more employees to have a written policy regarding electronic monitoring of employees. As the Act has received Royal Assent, this requirement is now in place.
This newsletter has provided a high-level overview of important employment law updates introduced in the Act. These updates establish new rules and requirements which can increase an employer’s potential liability in the areas of health and safety, worker’s rights and professional regulation. Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the full details of these updates. The lawyers at Heeney Vokey LLP would be more than happy to assist in this regard.