*Legal Update* Important Changes To The ESA and Other Legislation That Will Affect Your Business

Law Update

The Working for Workers Act – Bill 27, has just passed the first reading in Ontario’s legislature. Below find the important changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and other legislation that may affect your business


The Working for Workers Act contains important amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) which effects all Ontario businesses. This bill includes a ban on non-competition agreements, a new policy requirement and additional measures.

You can read the full act here or get the summary below. 


Here are the proposed changes should Bill 27 make it through:


1) Non-Compete Ban

The amendments, which are not yet in force, contain provisions invalidating non-competition agreements in contracts except where the non-compete agreement is included in a post-sale-of-business employment contract.

Although non-competes are already notoriously difficult to enforce due to their effect on employee livelihood, they will be completely void if these amendments come into effect.

Employers should consider reviewing their current agreements and future agreements (If you need help, contact us here) and ensure their key business interests are protected by non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.


2) Disconnecting from Work Policy

Employers with 25 or more employees are required to implement and post a written “Disconnecting from Work Policy”. This policy is to set out the company’s practices regarding “non-engaging” with emails, phone calls, video calls, or messages that are received outside an employee’s hours of work.

The new changes make references to potential regulations regarding the contents of the required policy. 

Disconnecting from work is not a new concept, but it has certainly become a hot topic due to the recent shifts to working from home. “Right to Disconnect” laws have been adopted in several jurisdictions including in Italy, Slovakia, and, most famously, France. These jurisdictions may provide some important clues on how employers are managing these obligations. 


3) Temporary Help Agencies/Recruiters

Several amendments have been made to deal with items such as licensing requirements for temporary health agencies and recruiters. 


4) OHSA Change – Washroom Access

Perhaps in response to stories featuring an ecommerce giant and their practices regarding washroom use during work hours, the Occupational Health and Safety Act is also getting an update.

Employers will be required to provide washroom access (with limited exceptions) on request to any workers working in the workplace, and to any worker collecting from or delivering anything to the workplace.


Read the full changes here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-2/bill-27#BK4

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