On March 20, 2023, the Ontario government introduced Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023, in Legislature, to:
- make Ontario's job-protected leave for military reservists the most flexible and comprehensive in all of Canada. This will allow reservists:
- to have their job protected when they are deployed to emergency operations inside Canada, even if it's their first day at a new job.
- reduce the length of employment required for all other reasons from three months to two months, and
- expand the reasons for taking reservist leave to include where the employee may need additional time off to recover from physical or mental injuries.
- amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase the maximum fine for a corporation, for a conviction under the Act, and amend the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 relating to contraventions of the Act in respect of a passport or work permit. This would strengthen protections for vulnerable and migrant workers by establishing the highest maximum fines in Canada for businesses and people who are convicted of withholding a foreign national's passport or work permit. Offenders could face a $100,000 to $200,000 penalty for every worker whose rights are violated.
- include employees who work solely from home in the count for mass termination provisions to ensure that remote employees receive the same eight-week minimum notice of termination or pay-in-lieu as their in-office colleagues. In addition, the bill seeks to give greater certainty to employees starting a new job by proposing regulatory changes to require employers to provide employees with information about their job, such as pay, work location and hours of work, and the date by which that information needs to be provided (e.g., before their first shift).
The National Payroll Institute will monitor the progress of Bill 79 and advise members of any changes.