On October 26, 2023, Ontario’s Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023 (Bill 79) received Royal Assent and is now in force.
Bill 79 amends several statutes, including:
- Employment Standards Act (ESA)
- Employees who work from home are now eligible for the same enhanced notice provided during a mass termination as in-office employees.
- Enhanced leave provisions for reservists are changed to include leave time for employees who are in treatment to recover from physical or mental injuries that arose from deployment or training activities.
- Written information must now be provided to “employees and prospective employees” including information about rates of pay, work location, and hours of work.
- Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
- Maximum fines are now set at $2 million, up from the previous $1.5 million.
- Employment Protection of Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 (EPFNA)
- Higher fines have been set for employers who are convicted of contravening subsection 9(1) or (2) of the Act, with respect to the withholding of a passport or work permit by an employer .
- The government’s regulation-making authority has been updated to allow the government to specify what written information must be provided to “employees and prospective employees” including information about rates of pay, work location, and hours of work. This may provide the foundation for future regulations that would establish those requirements.