The widespread increase of remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be here to stay, and with that the Ontario government is looking at updating employment laws in the province to account for the increase in remote work. As of Q4 in 2022, approximately 2.2 million Ontarians worked remotely at least part of the time. The Ontario government is working to ensure that remote workers are afforded the same protections under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) as workers who are present in-person.
How will the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act affect remote workers?
One of the proposed new changes includes the mass layoff language in the Employment Standards Act, Ontario being updated to account for remote workers. Under the ESA, employees are entitled to additional compensation if there is a mass layoff. However, when Twitter implemented a series of mass layoffs in November 2022, it did so in a way that attempted to avoid paying remote workers the increased severance packages that in-person workers were entitled to. The new proposed change to the Employment Standards Act of Ontario would broaden the definition for employees entitled to additional mass layoff compensation to include remote workers.
What are the additional obligations for employers when it comes to hiring employees in “precarious” positions?
Another proposed change that the Ontario government is looking at is creating additional obligations for employers when it comes to hiring employees in “precarious” positions. The new proposal suggests that new hires should be provided with additional information in writing about their job, such as pay, work location and hours of work, before they are scheduled to start their first shift.
Both employees and employers alike can benefit from legal advice to better understand their rights and obligations as changes are made to the Employment Standards Act. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.
Author – Nasyr Asmi