Recent Updates in Ontario Legislation: Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023

Wooden judge hammer with golden details and a legislation book beside.

We previously discussed the upcoming Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 (WW4 Act) in our blog post on November 15, 2023, found at this link. As of the date of this blog post, namely as of January 16, 2024, the law is still at the Second Reading stage in the Ontario Legislative Assembly.  It is likely that the Legislature will take up debate on this law again when sittings resume in February 2024.

Our previous post discussed the WW4 Act’s changes with respect to the definition of an employee, salary range disclosure requirements, as well as use of artificial intelligence in screening, assessing, or selecting applicants. In addition to those changes, employers can expect the following changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to also come into effect once the WW4 Act is finalized:

Vacation Pay

The Employment Standards Act, 2000, current permits the employer to pay out vacation pay as a lump sum prior to the employee starting their vacation, or the parties may agree that the vacation pay will be paid in another manner. The WW4 Act will require that any payment of vacation pay must be set out in an agreement between employee and employer and then paid in accordance with that agreement.

Wage Deduction Limitations

Employers who operate a restaurant, gas station, or other establishment serving customers will no longer be permitted to deduct amounts from wages where a customer leaves the premises without paying for goods or services received from the business.

Tips Rules

Employers will now be required to pay tips by cash, cheque, or direct deposit, or other prescribed methods. If the employee’s tip is paid by cash or by cheque, the same must be provided to the employee either at the workplace or at another location agreeable to the employee. Any policy on sharing of tips must be posted in a conspicuous place and retained for three years after such a policy is revoked or withdrawn.

To use direct deposit for tips, employers will be required to ensure that bank account into which payment is made is:

  • Selected by the employee and is in the employee’s name;
  • No other person other than the employee or a person authorized by the employee has access to the account
  • The account meets any prescribed criteria.

Potential Sexual Harassment & Workplace Violence Changes

In addition, and separate from the above-noted legislation, the Government of Ontario is considering banning the use of non-disclosure in cases of workplace sexual harassment, workplace misconduct, or workplace violence. While no Government legislation has been introduced as of the date of this blog post, there is a good chance that such legislation will be introduced in 2024. Stay tuned for updates on that front.

If you need assistance with employee relations or legal advice in Ontario or anywhere in Canada, or employment law support, or human resources, please do not hesitate to contact Bridge Legal & HR Solutions at (647) 794-5442 or admin@bridgelegalhr.ca.

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