Ontario Passes the Working for Workers Act
Ontario’s Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, (“Bill 27”) which was first announced in late October, passed third reading in the Ontario Legislature on November 30, 2021.
Bill 27 proposes a number of key legislative changes, including requiring employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy with respect to the right of employees to disconnect from work and prohibiting employers from entering into non-compete agreements (subject to some exceptions for the sale of a business and for executive employees).
See our previous blog posts dated October 27, 2021 and November 26, 2021 which further summarize important amendments brought on by Bill 27. Bill 27 is expected to receive Royal Assent shortly, after which time it will officially become law.
Employers will have six months after Bill 27 receives Royal Assent to put in place a policy on disconnecting from work. After that point, a policy will be required to be put in place by March 1 of any year in which an employer has 25 or more employees as of January 1.
There are currently no details available about the specific requirements of the policy, or exemptions from the application of the policy, as those will be prescribed by regulation. However, the government’s news release suggests that content could include encouraging employees to turn off work devices or put out-of-office notifications on when they are not working.
The prohibition from entering into non-compete agreements with employees other than “executives” or those entered into in the context of a “sale of business” will be deemed to have come into force on October 25, 2021.
Our team continues to carefully monitor the status of Bill 27 and will post updates as they become available. If you have any questions regarding the impact of these proposed changes on your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our Ontario Labour & Employment Law team.