New Potential Changes to Ontario Employment Standards Regarding Remote Workers’ Notice Entitlements

Queen Street

The Ontario government has announced several potential changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). While the specific details of the changes are yet to be announced, we know from the Ontario government’s release on the matter that the changes will affect:

  1. Remote Employee Entitlement to Notice of Mass Termination
  2. New Hire Information Packages

Remote Employee Entitlement to Notice of Mass Termination

As the ESA currently stands, employers who terminate the employment of 50 or more employees in an establishment four-week period are required to give additional notice of termination, generally known as mass termination. Depending on the number of employees terminated, the notice required is anywhere from 8 weeks to 16 weeks in addition to individual notice of termination. Of course, as always, in Ontario employees may be owed more notice under the common law in addition to the minimum individual and mass notice.

However, the ESA’s requirement to pay these amounts is dependent upon the definition of “establishment” which essentially leads to the outcome that remote employees may not be entitled to mass termination notice if they are not working from an “establishment” of the employer. The potential changes revolve around redefining establishment to include remote worker workplaces. This would mean that those employees will be entitled to mass termination notice.

Further details will be added as they become available.

New Hire Information Packages

If the changes are made, employers may also be required to provide new hired with information in writing about their job which may include items such as pay, work location, hours of work, and other details. The proposed changes have not yet been clarified, but this clearly targets circumstances where only a verbal employment agreement may be made between the employer and employee. The new requirement will provide these employees with a degree of certainty of working conditions.

There are suggestions in the Government’s press release that additional changes are being considered.

At Bridge Legal & HR Solutions we can help you untangle and understand the web of obligations that applies to your employment relationships. To find out how we can help, contact us through our contact form or call us at 647-794-5442.

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