Bill 27- Working for Worker’s Act, 2021- What You Need to Know
On November 30, 2021, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 27, the Working for Worker’s Act, 2021. So, what does that mean? Let’s break it down for you.
The Government of Ontario is passing this legislation to protect workers' rights while keeping up with the evolving demands of labour through the acceleration of new technology and remote work. There are a few components of the Working for Worker’s Act, will be put in place to protect employees that are worth noting here:
- Restrictions on Non-Compete Provisions,
- Right to Disconnect,
- Requiring the workplace owner to provide washroom access to persons making deliveries to and from their workplace.
Now let’s take a closer look at what that means for you.
Restrictions on Non-Compete Provisions
Many employers use non-compete provisions to protect their business from previous employees using their materials/ confidential information or trade secrets with a competitor or to start their own business. It may no longer be valid if you currently have a non-compete clause in an employment agreement/ offer letter. The new provisions ban non-compete agreements between employers and employees. There are two exceptions to the ban:
- Non-compete agreements can still be in place with executives, c-suite employees and
- Non-complete agreements can still be in place where the clause is signed as part of the sale of a business
Right to Disconnect
This will require employers with a staff of 25 employees or more to put a written policy in place regarding employees disconnecting from their job at the end of the workday. More details regarding the stipulations around the hours will come out with legislation in the future as to what parameters need to be met within the policy. Employers will have a grace period of 6 months from the time the Workers’ Act receives Royal Assent before implementing the policy.
Providing Washroom Access to Deliver Drivers
The provision of the Act requires business owners to allow delivery workers to use a company’s washroom if they are delivering or picking up items. This supports the delivery drivers, couriers and truck drivers who have kept our essential supplies and economy going throughout the pandemic.
Employers will need to wait for the regulations to be published to determine which (if any) employees will be exempt from the “right to disconnect” and what exactly will be required both in terms of the contents of the policies and put it into practice. On the non-compete side, the Workers Act is unclear on agreements that have already been entered into and whether those agreements will be subject to the ban or must meet the common law test of reasonability.
Your trusted HR team at Essential HR will continue to keep you updated, as the Government provides more clarity in the upcoming months. If you’d like to connect with your HR Business Partner today, please don’t hesitate to call!