Bill 27 – Working for Workers Act

Beverly Written by Beverly Leavitt November 6, 2021 Human Resources

Man on phone while looking at laptop.

On October 25, 2021, the Ontario government tabled Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 to promote healthy work-life balance and the right to disconnect and to further enable competitiveness by banning non-compete agreements that are used to restrict work opportunities and suppress salary increases and wage growth.

Specifically, the proposed legislation would:

  • Require employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy about employees disconnecting from their job at the end of the workday in order to help employees spend more time with their families. These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working.
  • Ban the use of non-compete agreements that prevent people from exploring other work opportunities. These types of contracts often restrict employees from taking new jobs with another business in the same field after they leave the company. The proposed changes would ban this unfair restriction to help workers in Ontario advance their careers and earn more money. This would also give the province a competitive advantage in attracting global talent. Employers would still be able to protect their intellectual property through narrower clauses.
  • Help remove barriers, such as Canadian experience requirements, for internationally trained individuals to get licenced in a regulated profession and get access to jobs that match their qualifications and skills.
  • Require recruiters and temporary help agencies to have a licence to operate in the province to help protect vulnerable employees from being exploited.
  • Require business owners to allow delivery workers to use a company’s washroom if they are delivering or picking up items. This supports the delivery drivers, couriers and truck drivers who have kept essential supplies and the economy going throughout the pandemic.
  • Allow surpluses in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Insurance Fund to be distributed over certain levels to businesses, helping them cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Enable the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to work with entities, like the Canada Revenue Agency, to streamline remittances for businesses, enabling a way to give them an efficient one-stop-shop for submitting premiums and payroll deductions.
  • Allow the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to collect information related to the agri-food workforce to ensure the government can enhance the coordination of services such as vaccination and testing and respond to issues that may arise.

Many of the proposed changes were informed by the recommendations made by the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee, based on their consultations with workers, employers and unions. The Bill amends various pieces of employment law including the Employment Standards Act.

We will update you on the progress of the Bill as the information is received.