Working for Workers Act Schedule 5 and where to go to the bathroom
On March 1, Schedule 5 of Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, came into effect.
Schedule 5 amended the Occupational Health and Safety Act by adding a section which requires the owner of a workplace to ensure that access to a washroom is provided, upon request, when a worker is at the workplace to deliver or pick up from the workplace to deliver elsewhere.
Employers will not be required to provide access if it would not be reasonable or practical for health and safety reasons or if providing access would not be reasonable or practical having regard to all the circumstances, such as the nature of the workplace, the type of work, the conditions of work, the security at the workplace and the location of the washroom within the workplace, or if the washroom can only be accessed through a dwelling.
ESA guide is updated
Also, the Ontario government updated its Guide to the Employment Standards Act to include helpful information on amendments in Bill 27 to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) on disconnecting from work policies and prohibitions on non-compete agreements.
The Guide outlines the following requirements for employers:
- Employers with 25 or more employees (on January 1, 2022) have until June 2, 2022 to implement a written policy on disconnecting from work in place for all employees. They are also required to provide a copy of the written policy to all employees. The Guide provides guidance on what the policy should include.
- As of October 25, 2021, employers are prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employees, subject to exceptions for a sale of business and executives. The Guide defines what is considered an “executive”, and specifies that the ESA does not prohibit non-compete agreements that were entered into before October 25, 2021, nor does it prohibit non-solicit agreements or non-disclosure agreements.
Unless an employer falls under one of the exceptions, employers who encounter delivery workers need to provide them access to a washroom.
Employers should also review the Guide to understand the changes to non-compete agreements, and who it does and does not apply to. Non-competes entered into before October 25, 2021 are not impacted.
Employers with 25 or more employees should begin to draft and implement a policy on disconnecting from work and review the Guide on what must and must not be included.
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