Ontario, Canada: Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022 Receives Royal Assent

On April 11, 2022, Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022 received Royal Assent and became law. As previously discussed, in addition to enacting the new Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 (DPWRA), Bill 88 amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 (FARPCTA).

We summarize the most significant of these developments below and highlight important dates.

Enactment of the DPWRA

The DPWRA is not yet in force. It will come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

The DPWRA establishes foundational rights and protections for digital workers, i.e., gig workers, including but not limited to, the right to be provided certain information in writing; the right to a recurring pay period and pay day, and to be paid all amounts earned, including tips or other gratuities collected during each pay period; the right to be paid at least the general minimum wage (now $15 per hour but increasing to $15.50 per hour, commencing October 1, 2022); and the right to be free from intimidation and penalization in specified circumstances.

The DPWRA also imposes recordkeeping requirements on digital platform operators, as well as a requirement to make specified information regarding each worker readily available for inspection by a compliance officer.

ESA Amendment: Electronic Monitoring Policy

The ESA is amended to require an employer that, on January 1 of any year, employs 25 or more employees, to ensure, before March 1 of that year, that it has a written policy in place for all employees with respect to electronic monitoring of employees (Policy). For purposes of initial compliance, however, an employer that employs 25 or more employees on January 1, 2022, has until October 11, 2022 (six months after Bill 88 received Royal Assent), to comply with this requirement. A written copy of the policy must be provided to existing employees by November 10, 2022.

The Policy must provide the following information: whether the employer electronically monitors employees and, if so, a description of how and in what circumstances the employer may electronically monitor employees, and the purposes for which information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used by the employer; the date the Policy was prepared and the date any changes were made to the Policy; and such other information as may be prescribed.

OSHA Amendments

Naloxene Kits

A requirement relating to naloxone kits will come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor. On that day, employers will be required, among other things, to provide and maintain in good condition a naloxone kit in workplaces where they are aware, or ought to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose.

Other OHSA Amendments

On July 1, 2022, the following amendments to the OHSA will come into force:

  • Individuals who contravene the OHSA are subject to a maximum fine of $500,000 (previously $100,000);
  • A new penalty is created, which provides that if there is a failure to provide a safe work environment and it leads to a worker’s severe injury or death on the job, directors and officers will be subject to a maximum fine of $1,500,000, or to a prison term of up to 12 months, or to both;
  • Specified aggravating factors are to be considered upon determining penalties against corporate and individual defendants; and
  • The limitation period for instituting prosecutions under the OHSA is increased to two years (previously one year) from the later of the date of the occurrence and the day the inspector becomes aware of the alleged offence.

Additional Amendments

  • Commencing January 1, 2023, the ESA will not apply to certain information technology and business consultants (and any person for whom they perform work or from whom they receive compensation), provided that specific requirements are met;
  • Commencing April 11, 2022 (the date when Bill 88 received Royal Assent), military reservist leave is expanded to cover time in Canadian Armed Forces military skills training, and the amount of time the employee needs to be employed by the employer before they are entitled to begin the leave, is reduced from at least six months to at least three months.
  • The FARPCTA is amended to require a regulated profession to make a registration decision within 30 business days of receiving an application from a “domestic labour mobility” applicant. This amendment will come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

More detailed information about these developments is available here

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.