New Employment Protections in Ontario Minimal at Best

In blog TO on Tuesday, March 14, Lauran O’Neil published an article, “People who work from home in Ontario may soon have new legal protections”.

In this article, it states the Ontario government is providing enhanced protection for workers with proposed changes to employment laws, including ensuring that remote employees receive the same termination notice as in-office staff (8 week minimum). These changes are part of a larger package which also includes new right-to-disconnect laws and ensuring employers provide new hires with written job details prior to their first shifts. Mass terminations will be subject to 8, 12 or 16 weeks' notice depending on the number of employees terminated.

Our employment lawyers see this as a minimal change. The Government of Ontario’s proposed clarifications to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 acknowledge that the modern workplace extends far beyond the four walls of the office and includes digital spaces where many employees do most or all of their work remotely. Specifically, the term “establishment”, as used in the Act, would be broadened to include employees’ remote home offices.

As with previous tweaks to the ESA by the Ford government, the changes may make little practical difference in the lives of employees. In this particular case, the proposed changes may do little more than confirm the existing practice of the Ministry of Labour in interpreting the word “establishment”, and would apply only to a very narrow subset of remote workers who are let go as part of a “mass termination”.

Read the entire article here.

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