Ontario Work Legislation: What Has Changed?

Work legislation has come to the forefront of peoples' minds in recent times as a result of many factors. From the onset of the pandemic, which has led people to demand for better and safer working conditions, to an ongoing battle for increased minimum wage, changed legislation is very significant during these times. Ready to learn more about how this will affect your job now and in the future? Keep reading for information on what has changed in the work world.

Minimum Wage Increase


Prior to January 1st, Ontario’s minimum wage sat at approximately $14.35 by the hour (Tsekouras). Considering the tremendous amount of work and dedication put in by those on the frontlines, it was time for a change. Starting in 2022, the new minimum wage rate is exactly $15 by the hour (Tsekouras). This has been a gamechanger for a lot of people as the previous wage made it difficult to keep up with bills and other expenses (Tsekouras). In talks with the Ford Government it is evident that the pandemic played a role in the recent minimum wage increase, much deserved for those who have worked extremely hard to sustain key societal functions throughout such a difficult and trying time (Tsekouras).


The Working For Workers Act


In November 2021, the government began to pivot its plans toward more policies that would help employees separate their work and personal lives with more clarity and freedom for Ontario workers (Davidson). The pandemic has forced a lot of peoples’ work and personal lives to become extremely intertwined, consequently causing burnout for many of employees. As a result of the pandemic, more and more pressure is being put on hospitals as hospital employees have had to take time off.


Formally, this act will ensure that employers write up a formal set of rules detailing how employees are able to sign-off from their work and the obligations they will have outside of working hours (Davidson). This new act will apply to businesses with 25 employees or more, to ensure that employees are being treated fairly in terms of how long they are working and how flexible they are to completely disconnect from their work lives each day (Davidson).


Another part of this new act is the termination of the non-compete clause, which will mean that people will not be barred from applying to different higher-level positions (Davidson). This comes as a fairly big announcement as Ontario is the first of any other province or territory to do so (Davidson). In our next blog, we will further discuss the details of an up-and-coming “right to disconnect policy”, how it is being implemented provincially, nationally, and internationally by a variety of companies. This policy became more popular for usage over the course of the pandemic, and many companies have used it since and other countries are looking to work it into their schedules.


Other Ontario Policies


As a result of the pandemic, the Ontario government had to enact the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit. It officially started in Ontario on April 29th 2021, but the government has now decided to extend it to July 31, 2022. The program was initially supposed to last for about 5 months and has been extended several times due to pandemic circumstances.


To comply with the circumstances of the pandemic, the Ontario government has had to adjust certain policies. One of those was the Employment Standards Act. According to the government of Ontario, these modified rules could go on as long as July 30, 2022, if not later.


Takeaway


It is always important to be wary of new laws and regulations pertaining to the work world as you never know how it could impact you and your business, positively or negatively. Some of these changes can be implemented quickly, while others take more time. Others are a direct result of certain circumstances outside of the control of the government (such as the pandemic), while others have been brought on out of a prominent need for changed policies. While the changes listed above are only a few of the ones that have been implemented in recent times, be sure to become aware of all the ones that pertain to your industry. It is important to keep up with how these changes will affect day to day life, now and in the future. Especially with times still being slightly uncertain, rules can change in the blink of an eye, some rules have been extended, others have been shortened, so be sure to frequently check the government of Ontario website for more details.



Citations:

  1. Davidson, S. (2021, December 28). These are the big changes and new laws coming to Ontario in 2022. Retrieved March 07, 2022, from https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/these-are-the-big-changes-and-new-laws-coming-to-ontario-in-2022-1.5721490

  2. Government of Ontario. (2021). Employment Standards. Retrieved March 07, 2022 https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/

  3. Tsekouras, P. (2021, November 2). Ontario minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour in January. Retrieved March 07, 2022, from ​​https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-minimum-wage-will-increase-to-15-per-hour-in-january-1.5647824

  4. Skrzypinski, C. (2021, December 21). Ontario Government Grants Workers Right to Disconnect. Retrieved March 07, 2022, fromhttps://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/global-hr/pages/ontario-grants-right-to-disconnect.aspx







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