Working for Workers Act (Bill 27)
Employers should be aware of new changes coming to Ontario businesses with the Working for Workers Act, 2021 (Bill 27). These changes in the workplace come as a measure to improve the work/life balance of Ontarians and aid with the economic growth of the province while attracting top talent.
There are four topics to cover with the Working for Workers Act, 2021.
- Disconnecting From Work Policy
- Prohibition of Non-Competes
- Licensing for Recruiters and Temporary Help Agencies
- Delivery Worker Washroom Access
Disconnecting from work policy
Starting June 2, 2022, businesses with 25 or more employees must have a ‘disconnect from work’ policy in place. The policy must be revisited within the time frame of January 1st to March 1st of every year thereafter and include the date and any changes that are made to the policy.
Bill 27 defines disconnecting from work as “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, to be free from the performance of work.”
The written policy must be provided to all employees within 30 days of preparing or making changes of the policy.
Prohibition of non-competes
The prohibition of non-compete agreements is enforceable and effective as of October 25, 2021. Any non-compete agreement entered on or after October 25, 2021, will be rendered void and unenforceable.
A non-compete is defined as “an agreement, or any part of an agreement, between an employer and an employee that prohibits the employee from engaging in any business, work, occupation, profession, project or other activity that is in competition with the employer’s business after the employment relationship between the employee and the employer ends.”
Employers are still able to protect intellectual property and confidential information and non-compete agreements will be valid if the employee is in an executive position. Non-compete agreements will also be enforceable with the sale of a business or part of a business if the seller and the purchaser enter into an agreement that prohibits the seller from competing against the purchaser’s acquired business.
Licensing for recruiters and temporary help agencies
All recruiters and temporary help agencies must be licenced to operate for that purpose. “No recruiter, employer, or prospective employer shall knowingly engage or use the services of a recruiter unless the recruiter holds a licence for that purpose as required.”
In order to apply for a licence to perform as either a recruiter or a temporary help agency, follow the steps stated below:
- Apply to the Director for a licence or renewal of a licence
- Pay the prescribed fee
- Provide the Director with the prescribed security; and
- Comply with any additional prescribed requirements
Delivery worker washroom access
The owner of any workplace must ensure there is washroom access provided to a worker who is delivering something to or collecting anything from a workplace for delivery elsewhere. There are three exceptions to this subsection.
- If providing access would not be reasonable or practical for reasons relating to the health or safety of any person at the workplace, including the worker who requests to use a washroom.
- If providing access would not be reasonable or practical having regard to all the circumstances, including, but not limited to, the nature of the workplace, the type of work at the workplace, the conditions of work at the workplace, the security of any person at the workplace and the location of the washroom within the workplace
- If the washroom is in, or can only be accessed through, a dwelling.
For more information on Human Resources or Health and Safety questions or require services to develop the policies discussed in this article, please reach out to one of our Consultants at Beyond Rewards HR at [email protected] or call (519)821-7440.