December 20, 2023

Understanding Ontario's Proposed Workplace Legislation: Impact on Employer Practices

In a recent move to reform Ontario’s employment landscape, the government introduced Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. This legislation aims to implement crucial changes affecting the recruitment practices and workplace dynamics of provincially regulated employers.

Key Highlights of the Proposed Legislation:

• Transparency in Job Postings: Employers advertising publicly listed positions will need to include details about expected compensation or a compensation range.

• Canadian Experience Requirement: Prohibiting employers from mandating Canadian experience in job postings or associated application forms.

• AI Use Disclosure: Employers utilizing AI for applicant screening must disclose this in their postings.

• Retention Requirements: Employers must retain copies of publicly advertised job postings and associated application forms for three years.

Beyond recruitment practices, the legislation also addresses various workplace aspects:

• Digital Workers: Specific timelines for pay periods and paydays for digital workers.

• Paid Trial Periods: Mandating payment for work during trial periods.

• Wage Deductions: Employers cannot deduct wages due to customer theft.

• Tip Sharing Policies: Requiring employers to post and retain tip-sharing policies.

• WSIB Benefits: Instances where benefits can exceed the annual inflation rate for injured workers.

• Presumed Occupational Diseases: Creating presumptions for certain cancers for firefighters.

Additionally, the government is considering further consultations to address:

• Non-Disclosure Agreements: Restrictions on NDAs in cases of workplace misconduct or violence.

• Critical Illness Leave: A proposed new job-protected leave matching federal sickness benefits.

For Employers:

Although the law has yet to pass, employers should proactively assess their recruitment policies to align with the potential changes. Reviewing document retention policies for the storage of job postings and application forms is also advisable for compliance with the proposed retention period.

This legislation reflects a significant shift in workplace practices, emphasizing transparency, fairness, and protection for workers. Employers must stay informed and adapt to forthcoming changes in Ontario's employment landscape.