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Since the first iteration of the Working for Workers Act in 2021, Ontario’s provincial government has made significant changes to the province’s employment law regime. This will continue with the upcoming Working for Workers Five Act (Bill 190).  On May 6, 2024, the Ontario government introduced Bill 190, which proposes various amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”)and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”). The government also filed O. Reg. 194/24 amending O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) made under the OHSA. The amendment will require a constructor to provide menstrual products at any project where work is expected to last three months or more and where twenty (20) or more workers are regularly employed. This amendment will come into force on January 1, 2025.

If the provincial government passes Bill 190, the following changes will come into effect:

Changes to the ESA

  • Every publicly advertised job posting must include a statement about whether it is for an existing vacancy. This requirement may be subject to prescribed exemptions. 
  • Create a “duty to inform” job interviewees by the employer of ‘prescribed information’ (the contents of which the government has yet to determine). The “duty to inform” aims to ensure employers respond to job applicants and prevent employer “ghosting.” 
  • Employees are no longer required to provide sick notes from a qualified health practitioner when exercising their right to statutory sick leave.  An employer may require the employee who takes a job-protected sick leave to provide reasonable evidence in the circumstances of their entitlement to the leave.   
  • The maximum fine for individuals convicted of violating the ESA will increase from $50,000 to $100,000. 

Changes to the OHSA

  • The OHSA now applies to ‘telework performed in or about a private resident. However, a private residence where a worker performs telework will not be considered an “industrial establishment” for the purposes of the OHSA.  
  • The definition of workplace harassment will now include ‘virtual harassment,’ which means harassment that occurs “virtually through the use of information and communications technology.” 
  • Joint health and safety committee meetings can now occur remotely rather than exclusively in-person. 
  • Any employer-provided washroom facilities for worker use must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. 
  • Employers are now permitted to post workplace materials required by the OHSA in an electronic format, provided the materials are readily accessible to all workers. 

 Changes to the WSIA

  • Amendments to the WSIA will extend coverage to wildland firefighters and wildland firefighter investigators for (1) post-traumatic stress disorder and (2) primary-site skin cancer if the worker had at least ten (10) years of service before their diagnosis. 

The government has yet to propose a date for these amendments to come into force. However, we will continue to monitor Bill 190’s progress and provide timely updates. Please feel free to contact a KMB Labour and Employment Group member with questions, comments, or concerns about these potential legislative changes.

This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.

If you have questions, please reach out

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