Ontario may soon be making some changes that will affect employers in the province. On November 14, 2023, the Government tabled Bill 149, Working for Worker’s Four Act, 2023, which, among other things, proposes an amendment to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 that would require Ontario employers to include salary ranges in job postings, as well as the disclosure of whether artificial intelligence will be used during the hiring process.
According to Government statistics, only 37% of online job postings in Ontario include salary information, but Bill 149 would make the inclusion of salary information mandatory. This is intended to assist inclosing the gender pay gap, as women in Ontario earn an average of $0.87 for every dollar earned by men. The Government announcement stated that this pay gap is even worse for racialized and Indigenous women. The transparency in the salary range for employment positions is also intended to allow employers to find qualified candidates, as well as improve retention in the workplace.
With the rise of technology and artificial intelligence, there are some concerns regarding the role it will play throughout the hiring process. The Labour Minister, David Piccini, stated, “AI systems are able to tell age, sex, race, religion, political affiliation and can even evaluate your social media accounts to see if someone’s personal traits would be a good fit for a company’s culture.” Bill 149 is intended to add transparency for candidates during the hiring process in order to ensure a fair process for all.
The Government also announced its intention to introduce legislation that will ban employers from requiring Canadian work experience as a requirement in a job posting. With over 162,000 immigrants arriving in Ontario from January 2023 to September 2023, this new legislation is aimed at creating equal employment opportunity. Ontario was the first province in Canada to ban the use of Canadian work experience requirements in regulated professions under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006. Accordingly, the Government specified its intent to “improve oversight and accountability of how regulated professions like accountants, architects and geoscientists use third-party organizations to assess international qualifications to ensure assessments are done in a way that is fast, transparent and fair.”
This new legislation will help internationally trained immigrants work in the fields that they have studied in, and will also create greater opportunities for qualified candidates. Further, it will mean Ontario would be the first province to include provisions on “Canadian experience” in employment standards legislation.
Ontario is taking positive steps to improve the availability of work in the province, as well as to provide transparency for potential employment candidates. The lawyers at Heeney Vokey LLP anticipate providing further updates on Bill 149 and any new legislation once it has undergone further readings. Assuming Bill 149 receives Royal Assent, employers are encouraged to reach out to the lawyers at Heeney Vokey LLP with any questions on the requirements for job postings in Ontario and any other employment law related needs.