Ontario Working for Workers Act
The Act will have an impact on multiple pieces of legislation, including the ESA. The provisions of the act come into force on January 2nd, with some lee-way for a transition regarding operational changes, For many dealerships it will also include a change in policy and terms of employment for some.
One of the most significant aspects of the act is the requirement to implement a "Disconnecting from work" policy. The required contents of the policy are not laid out but the intent is clear. Employees are entitled to time away from their devices when they are not at work and employers need to be sure their processes around this are clearly communicated. This does not mean you cannot contact an employee outside of work, it means they should not be replying to emails or performing other tasks that form part of their job duties. If an employee requires information prior to working (such as a cancelled shift) or needs to fulfill a COVID requirement before clocking in as an example, then maintaining clear communication is still critical. Like all policies, the intent needs to be outlined and the accountability and process clarified. This applies to all employers with 25 or more employees as of January 1, 2022.
The other major piece of the legislation includes a removal of non-compete clauses for employees. This is a great opportunity for all dealerships to review their offer letters, related policies and do an update for the coming year. The removal of these clauses will mean that very few positions (C-suite only) will be subject to a non-compete clause. going forward. Existing clauses will remail unaffected.
There are also changes to the hiring process if dealerships choose to use foreign workers, temp agencies or recruitment agencies- so be sure that the agencies or representatives you use are properly certified, licensed and that they operate within the new regulations.
There are also changes that impact the regulatory professions, including trades. Although the change does not directly impact the conduct of the dealership , it is worth noting that no regulated profession/compulsory trade shall require that experience is Canadian experience in order to be registered unless the Minister has granted an exemption.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act will also be updated to include a provision providing for washroom access to delivery providers. This includes ALL delivery and pick up activities in order to assure the health and safety of those workers as well. There are some limitations but denying access based on a "For staff use only" statement will no longer be sufficient to deny them use of those facilities.
The final revision that dealerships should be aware of relates to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Within specified parameters, surplus insurance funds from Schedule 1 employers may be distributed among those Schedule 1 employers.
If you have questions about how we assist our members in managing these and other legislative requirements, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.