BILL 88 RECEIVED ROYAL ASSENT- HERE’S WHAT IT MEANS

By Elliot Saccucci, Alessia Grossi, and Claire Copland (Articling Student)

Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022 received Royal Assent on April 11, 2022. In addition to the changes that were discussed in an earlier article by Loopstra Nixon, Ontario employers should also take note of the following developments, as well as corresponding timelines that may impact them.

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022

  • New Protections for Digital Workers: Upon proclamation at a later date, the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, aimed at providing ESA-like protections to “gig” and digital workers, will come into force.
  • Please see this article by Loopstra Nixon for a discussion of changes you can expect as an employer, which include:
  • Paying gig workers at least minimum wage for hours worked;
  • Allowing workers to keep tips they receive;
  • Establishing regular pay periods; and
  • Implementing various dispute resolution mechanisms.

Employment Standards Act, 2000

  • Application to Certain Consultants: Section 3(5) of the ESA is amended to exempt certain information technology consultants from the ESA in its entirety. This comes into effect July 1, 2023. It will only affect consultants who meet specific criteria, such as if the consultant is a director or shareholder of the corporation.
  • Reservist Leaves of Absence: As of April 11, 2022, employees are entitled to begin military reservist leave after three months of employment as opposed to six. The amendments also permit an employee to take militarist reserve leave if they are participating in Canadian Armed Forces military skills training.
  • Electronic Monitoring Policy: Employers who employ 25 or more employees as of January 1, 2022 will need to have a written policy in place no later than October 11, 2022 with respect to electronic monitoring of employees. The policy will need to disclose if employees are being electronically monitored. If the employer is monitoring its workforce, the policy will also need to describe when and in what circumstances the monitoring takes place, as well as the purpose that the collected information is being used for. Employers who are required to have a policy in place by October 11, 2022 must provide a copy of the policy to employees no later than November 10, 2022, to remain complaint with the 30-day notice requirement. Going forward, employers with 25 or more employees as of January 1 of each year will need to have an electronic monitoring policy no later than March 1 of that year.

Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006

  • Timeline for Mobility Decisions: When a regulated professional body receives an application for registration from domestic labour mobility applicants, it must respond to applicants within 30 days, unless exempt. This amendment has not yet come into force.

Occupational Health and Safety Act

  • Naloxone Kits: If an employer becomes aware or ought reasonably to be aware that there may be a risk of an employee or worker having an opioid overdose, they are required by law to supply a naloxone kit in the workplace. This amendment has not yet come into force.
  • Increased and New Penalties: As of July 1, 2022, the maximum fines for individuals under the OHSA is increased from $100,000 to $500,000. Directors and officers will now be subject to a maximum fine of $1,5000,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months if they fail to take reasonable care to create a safe working environment and it leads to severe injury or death in the workplace. There are also new aggravating factors that will be considered when determining penalties.
  • Longer Limitation Periods: Prosecutions under the OHSA can now be brought for up to two years as opposed to one.

If you have questions about any of these changes, please get in touch with a member of our Labour and Employment team who would be happy to assist.