Bill 149 Received Royal Assent

On March 21, 2024, Bill 149, working for Workers Four Act, 2023, received royal assent.  

The following are the amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) provisions affecting employers that are now in force: 

  • The inclusion of trial periods within the definition of "training" for the purposes of the ESA aims to address unpaid trial shifts. 

  • Prohibitions against employers deducting an employee's wages if a customer does not pay for goods or services, including restaurants, gas stations, and other establishments. 

Changes affecting employers that will take effect on June 21, 2024, are as follows: 

  • An employer must pay any tip or gratuity by cash, cheque payable to the employee, direct deposit, or any other prescribed method. If paid by direct deposit, the account in which the pay is deposited must meet the requirements of the ESA. 

  • Employer tip-sharing policies must be written, displayed at work, and saved for three years post-termination. 

  • Vacation pay amendments require written agreements for any alternative payment arrangements between the employer and the employee. 

  • Direct deposit amendments ensure that payments, besides being in the employee's name and exclusively accessible, must also be to an account chosen by the employee. 

Other ESA changes that are not currently in force and will take effect in the future on proclamation include: 

  • Pay transparency: Employers must include the expected compensation or a range of expected compensation for the position in any publicly advertised job postings. 

  • Use of artificial intelligence (AI): employers who utilize AI to screen, assess, or select applicants must disclose the use of AI in their job postings. 

  • Prohibition of requiring Canadian experience: Job postings cannot include requirements for Canadian work experience, reducing barriers for internationally trained immigrants. 

  • Retention of job postings: employers are mandated to retain copies of all publicly advertised job postings and any associated application forms for three years after they are no longer accessible to the public. 

Bill 149 also touches on other areas that will take effect on the proclamation, such as: 

  • The amendment to the Digital Platform Worker's Rights Act (DPWRA) will allow limits on pay period lengths and payments, ensuring compliance with minimum wage under the DPWRA. 

  • The changes in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act will enhance the benefits for injured workers. 

Ontario employers must be aware of these changes to ensure compliance with the new requirements set forth by Bill 149. 

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