The Ontario government has followed through on its announcement to introduce new legislative requirements for Ontario’s provincially regulated employers.
On November 14, 2023, the Ontario government continued its series of amendments to provincial employment and workers’ compensation legislation with the introduction of Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. Most notably, the proposed law introduces a number of rules that would change the way employers recruit for talent in Ontario:
- Compensation information in job postings: Every employer who advertises a publicly advertised job posting will be required to include information about the expected compensation for the position or the range of expected compensation for the position.
- Canadian experience cannot be a job requirement: Employers will be prohibited from including in the job posting or any associated application form any requirements related to Canadian experience.
- Disclosing use of AI in recruitment: Employers who use AI to screen, assess or select applicants for the position must include in the posting a statement disclosing the use of AI.
- Retention of job postings: Employers will be required to retain copies of every publicly advertised job posting and any associated application form for three years after access to the posting by the general public is removed.
In addition to recruitment and job postings, the law also covers the following workplace matters:
- Digital workers: The law proposes to set specific timelines for recurring pay periods and recurring pay days for digital workers.
- Paid “trial periods”: Any work performed during a “trial period” would be required to be paid.
- No deductions from employee wages due to theft: An employer may not withhold or make a deduction from an employee’s wages where a customer of a restaurant, gas station or other establishment leaves the establishment without paying for the goods or services.
- Posting of tip sharing policy: Employers that have a policy about the sharing of tips or other gratuities must post a copy of that policy in a conspicuous place in the employer’s establishment where it is likely to come to the attention of employees. Employes must also retain a copy of every tip sharing policy for three years after the policy ceases to be in effect.
- “Super indexing” increases to WSIB benefits: In certain circumstances, the WSIB may increase benefits above the annual rate of inflation to increase pay for injured workers.
- Presumption that certain cancers to be occupational disease for firefighters: The proposed amendments will create presumptions that apply to certain firefighters and fire investigators in respect of primary-site esophageal cancer.
Finally, in announcing this new legislation, the Ontario government has also launched consultations which will address the following:
- Restrict the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in the settlement of cases of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct or violence.
- Create a new, job-protected leave for critical illnesses (like cancer) to match the length of the 26-week federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits.
Next steps for employers:
While the law has not yet passed and the government has not indicated when these changes would become effective, employers should begin to review their recruitment practices and policies and identify whether updates will be required. Employers should also consider their document retention policies so that they have a plan in place about how they will store their public job postings and associated application forms for the three year retention period.