Ontario introduces Working for Worker’s Five Act

21 May 2024 2 min read

By Shaliney Malhotra

At a glance

  • Recently, the Ontario government introduced Bill 190, the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024 (Bill 190).
  • Bill 190, introduced by the Ontario government, proposes amendments to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
  • ESA amendments include mandatory disclosure of job vacancies, response requirements for job applicants, prohibition of sick notes, and increased fines for non-compliance.
  • OHSA amendments address remote work, expanding definitions of harassment, allowing electronic posting of required information, permitting remote safety committee meetings, and applying OHSA to telework in private residences.
  • The bill is currently in its second reading, with further updates to follow as it proceeds through the Ontario legislature.

Recently, the Ontario government introduced Bill 190. Bill 190 is currently in its second reading.

Similar to the other ‘Working for Workers’ acts, Bill 190 proposes several amendments to various employment law related statutes. Key proposed amendments that Ontario employers should be aware of include:

  • ESA would be amended to:
    • require employers to disclose in publicly advertised job postings whether a position is ‎vacant or not;
    • require employers to respond to applicants that they have interviewed for publicly advertised job postings and provide them with certain information, to be prescribed by regulation;
    • prohibit employers from requiring an employee to provide a certificate from a qualified health practitioner (ie a sick note) as evidence of entitlement to ESA sick leave. The Ontario Government’s news release with respect to Bill 190 states employers may still request another form of evidence that is reasonable in the circumstances (eg an attestation); and
    • increase the maximum fines for individuals convicted of an offence under the ESA or for failing to comply with an order, direction or other requirement under the ESA from CAD50,000 to CAD100,000.
  • OHSA would be amended to address the increase in remote working arrangements as follows:
    • expand the definition of ‘workplace harassment’ and ‘workplace sexual harassment’ to expressly apply to harassment in a workplace that occurs virtually through information and communications technology;
    • allow employers to post information required to be posted under the OHSA in an electronic format, as long as workers are directed on where and how to access the information and the information is in a readily accessible format;
    • remove the requirement that joint health and safety committees meet ‘at the workplace’ such that remote meetings would be permissible;
    • expand the application of the OHSA to ‘telework performed in or about a private residence’; and
    • exclude from the definition of an ‘industrial establishment’ any office located in a private residence.

We will provide further updates as Bill 190 proceeds through the Ontario legislature. In the interim, if you have any questions about any of the proposed legislative amendments, do not hesitate to contact any member of our DLA Piper Canadian Employment and Labour Law Service Group, who will ensure that you are acting upon the most up-to-date information.

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