Ontario just passed a law making it illegal for bosses to bug their employees after-hours.
The provincial government passed the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which was first proposed in October.
Lockdowns have many people working from home, which while popular, tends to blur the line between work time and personal time.
The act aims to create a better work-life balance for workers and give them the “right to disconnect” concept has been attracting more interest in North America since remote work exploded last year, and had already inspired legislation in France, Italy and Spain well before the pandemic.
Ontario wants to keep labour laws at “pace with the acceleration of new technology, automation, and remote work,” Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development said.
“We have introduced measures to make it easier to spend time with family and loved ones, requiring most workplaces have a right to disconnect policy,” McNaughton said.
The measures in the act include:
Require employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy about employees disconnecting from their job at the end of the workday to help employees spend more time with their families.
Ban the use of non-compete agreements that prevent people from exploring other work opportunities in order to make it easier for workers to advance in their careers.
Help remove barriers, such as Canadian experience requirements, for internationally trained individuals to get licenced in a regulated profession and get access to jobs that match their qualifications and skills.
Require recruiters and temporary help agencies to have a licence to operate in the province to help protect vulnerable employees from being exploited
Require business owners to allow delivery workers to use a company’s washroom if they are delivering or picking up items. This supports the delivery drivers, couriers and truck drivers who have kept our essential supplies and economy going throughout the pandemic.
Allow surpluses in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Insurance Fund to be distributed over certain levels to businesses, helping them cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
Enable the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to work with entities, like the Canada Revenue Agency, to streamline remittances for businesses, enabling a way to give them an efficient one-stop-shop for submitting premiums and payroll deductions.
Allow the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to collect information related to the agri-food workforce to ensure the government can enhance the coordination of services such as vaccination and testing, and respond to issues that may arise.
“This legislation is another step towards building back a better province and cementing Ontario’s position as a global leader, for others to follow, as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” McNaughton said.