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Bill 149 (Working for Workers Four Act, 2024) received royal assent on March 21, 2024. Bill 149, announced in November 2023, introduces several new obligations for Ontario’s employers, including new requirements for job postings, vacation pay, and other items.  

Requirements for Publicly Advertised Job Postings

On a future date (to be prescribed by regulation), all employers are required to abide by the following regarding their publicly advertised job postings:

  • Employers must include information about the expected compensation, or range of expected compensation, for the job position.
  • Employers are prohibited from (i) requiring job applicants to have prior Canadian work experience and (ii) including Canadian work experience requirements in any associated job application form.
  • Employers must disclose whether they use artificial intelligence to screen, assess or select job applicants (the criteria for what constitutes “artificial intelligence” will be prescribed by regulation).
  • Employers must retain copies of every publicly advertised job posting and associated application form for three years after the posting is removed from public view. 

Vacation Pay

Bill 149 also clarifies amendments to the Employment Standards Act’s current vacation pay provisions (“ESA”). As of June 21, 2024, employers require written agreements if they intend to pay vacation in any method other than a lump sum before the employee’s vacation. Before Bill 149, the ESA permitted an employer to pay vacation pay at an alternative time, such as on each regular pay or via salary continuance throughout the employee’s vacation, if and as agreed to by the employee. Bill 149 now clarifies that any agreement regarding a different method of vacation pay must be in writing.

Other Legislative Amendments 

As of March 21, 2024:

  • Unpaid trial shifts are banned, as the definition of “employee” has been amended to confirm that work performed during a “trial period” is considered “training,” which constitutes work performed for which employers must pay employees. 
  • Employers cannot make deductions from an employee’s wages or cause the employee to return their wages to the employer in circumstances that now also include where a customer of a restaurant, gas station or other establishment leaves the establishment without paying for the goods or services taken from, consumed at or received at the establishment.

As of June 21, 2024:

  • When an employer has a “tip pool” or “tip sharing” policy, employers must put that policy in writing and post it in a visible place in the workplace.
  • Employers must pay employee tips or gratuities by cash, check payable only to the employee, direct deposit (subject to aforementioned direct deposit requirements), or any other prescribed method.
  • Accounts used for payment of wages by direct deposit must meet the following requirements: a) be selected by the employee and in the employee’s name; b) no person other than the employee or a person authorized by the employee has access to the account; and c) the account meets the prescribed criteria, if any.

On a date to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor:

  • Bill 149 will amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, to provide that firefighters and fire investigators diagnosed with primary-site esophageal cancer will be entitled to benefits through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board after 15 years of employment (a 10-year decrease from the previous threshold of 25 years of employment).
  • Bill 149 will amend the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006, to allow the government to prescribe mandatory requirements for determining whether a regulated profession assesses qualifications transparently, objectively, impartially, and fairly.

Takeaway for Employers

Employers should review their current practices to ensure compliance with these amendments. This can include reviewing existing employment contracts to ensure they remain in compliance with the ESA, developing or redrafting applicable workplace policies, booklets, guidelines, and developing or enhancing workplace procedures related to job advertisement retention. 

Feel free to contact a member of the KMB Labour and Employment Group with questions, comments, or concerns about these 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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