Two people having a job interview

On March 21, 2024, Ontario’s proposed Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, received royal assent, ushering in significant changes to the province’s employment laws. This landmark legislation amends several key acts, including the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Roberts & Obradovic Law, a Toronto-based firm specializing in employment and business law, outlines the following key points that employers need to know to stay compliant with the new requirements introduced by Bill 149:

Key Changes Introduced by Bill 149

Job Posting Requirements

  • Pay Transparency: One of the most notable changes is the requirement for employers to include expected compensation or a range of expected compensation in any publicly advertised job posting. This move aims to enhance pay transparency and ensure fair hiring practices. The specifics of what constitutes a “publicly advertised job posting” will be outlined in future regulations.
  • Canadian Work Experience: Employers will no longer be able to mandate Canadian work experience in job postings. This change is designed to reduce barriers for internationally trained immigrants seeking employment in their respective fields, aligning with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s stance against such requirements as potentially discriminatory.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Disclosure: If employers use AI to screen, assess, or select job applicants, they must include a statement disclosing this practice in the job posting. This requirement aims to protect job seekers from technological biases and uphold their privacy rights.
  • Retention of Job Postings: Employers must retain copies of publicly advertised job postings and any associated application forms for three years from the date the posting is removed from public view. This measure ensures accountability and transparency in hiring practices.

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA)

Several amendments to the ESA are already in effect as of March 21, 2024:

  • Wage Deductions: Employers are prohibited from deducting wages if a customer leaves without paying for goods or services, a change particularly relevant to the hospitality and retail sectors.
  • Trial Periods: The definition of “training” now explicitly includes trial periods, clarifying that employees must be paid for all work performed, including during trial shifts.

Further amendments to the ESA will take effect on June 21, 2024:

  • Tips and Gratuities: Employers can pay tips by cash, cheque, or direct deposit, provided certain criteria are met. Any tip-sharing policies must be posted conspicuously in the workplace and retained for three years after they are no longer in effect.
  • Vacation Pay: Employers must clearly outline any alternative arrangements for vacation pay in an agreement, and pay vacation pay according to the agreed schedule.

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act (DPWRA) Amendments

Bill 149 also introduces amendments to the DPWRA, allowing the government to prescribe rules for minimum wage compliance and pay period limitations for digital platform workers. These provisions will come into force once other minimum wage provisions of the DPWRA are enacted.

Conclusion

Ontario employers must review and update their practices to align with these new legislative requirements. Specifically, employers should revise their job postings to comply with pay transparency and AI disclosure mandates and ensure adherence to the new rules regarding wage deductions, trial periods, tips, and vacation pay.

Given the complexities of these changes, businesses should seek guidance from an experienced business and employment lawyer to understand their obligations and ensure full compliance with Bill 149. This proactive approach can help mitigate risks and ensure that your business practices align with the latest legal standards.

 


Author Bio

Roberts & Obradovic Law is a Toronto-based firm specializing in employment and business law. Our team of experienced lawyers is dedicated to helping businesses navigate complex legal changes like Ontario’s Bill 149, ensuring compliance and protecting client interests. For more information, visit Roberts & Obradovic Law


The Headhunters Recruitment does not offer legal services. The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. While we strive for accuracy, we make no guarantees regarding the completeness or reliability of the information. For legal advice or assistance, please consult a qualified legal professional.