Employment Standards Act (ESA) Amendments

  • Job Posting Transparency (Not yet in effect). If passed, employers would be required to disclose in job postings whether the position is for an existing vacancy or a newly created role, along with any other prescribed (prescribed means that additional details will be provided at a later date) information. This requirement is expected to come into force on a future date specified by the government.
  • Interview Disclosure Requirements (Not yet in effect). Employers may be mandated to provide prescribed information to applicants interviewed for publicly advertised jobs and retain these records for three years. This change would also come into effect on a future date specified by the government.
  • Streamlined Sick Leave Documentation (Immediate effect upon Royal Assent). The proposed amendments would prohibit employers from requiring doctor’s notes for statutory sick leave, although reasonable evidence could still be requested. This change would take immediate effect if Bill 190 receives Royal Assent.
  • Increased Fines for ESA Violations (Immediate effect upon Royal Assent). The maximum fine for individuals violating the ESA could potentially double from $50,000 to $100,000. This increase would take effect immediately upon Royal Assent.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) Amendments:

  • Expanded Harassment Definitions (Expected effective date: July 1, 2024, or upon Royal Assent, whichever is later) The definitions of “workplace harassment” and “workplace sexual harassment” may be expanded to include virtual harassment through technology.
  • Telework Considerations (Expected effective date: July 1, 2024, or upon Royal Assent, whichever is later). The OHSA’s application would extend to telework performed in private residences, excluding home offices. Home ‘offices’ are set up as offices, not ‘non-office environments’ like kitchen tables, or living room sofas for example.
  • Electronic Posting and Virtual Meetings (Expected effective date: July 1, 2024, or upon Royal Assent, whichever is later). The bill proposes allowing electronic posting of required information and permitting virtual joint health and safety committee meetings.
  • Washroom Facility Requirements (Effective date to be specified). Employers may be required to maintain clean and sanitary washroom facilities for workers and keep cleaning records. This change would come into effect on a future date specified by the government.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2025, menstrual products must be provided at certain construction projects, as per amendments to O. Reg. 213/91 under the OHSA.

Understanding Legislative Effective Dates

It’s important to note the difference between provisions listed as “not yet in effect” versus those with “immediate effect upon Royal Assent”.

Provisions noted as “not yet in effect” are proposed changes that are part of Bill 190 but will not actually become law until a later specified date after the bill receives Royal Assent. This later date gives employers time to prepare for compliance.

On the other hand, provisions listed as having “immediate effect upon Royal Assent” means those sections of Bill 190 would become enforceable law immediately once the bill formally receives Royal Assent.

Conclusion:

The Government of Ontario continues to be very active in workplace legislation. This pace can make it difficult for organizations to keep up. Fast Facts will continue to keep you apprised of developments. 

Contact Ford Keast LLP in London if any Legislative Changes Impact Your Business or Require Clarification

The Ontario government has proposed further significant changes to various employment and workplace legislation through Bill 190, the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024. In this legislative update, we will provide an overview of the key proposed amendments and their expected implementation timelines. These include changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

To learn more about this topic, please contact our expert HR Consultant online or by telephone at 519-679-9330 ext. 401 to help support you and your business.

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Resources: Hicks Morley LLP, Government of Ontario, Miller Thomson LLP

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