As you may have heard, the Ontario government has now officially passed Bill 27: Working for Workers Act, 2021 as of December 2nd, 2021. This employee-friendly legislation includes the prohibition of non-compete agreements, workplace washroom access for delivery workers, policy on disconnecting from work, use of WSIB insurance fund surplus, and licensing for recruiters and temporary help agencies.

 

  • Employers are now prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employees forbidding engagement in any work, business, occupation, project, or profession that is in competition with the employer’s business after the relationship as employee-employer has been ceased/terminated/come to an end. This does not apply to non-competes that are entered into prior to October 25th, 2021.
  • Employers are required to provide washroom access to delivery workers unless the provision of access poses a risk to the health and safety of persons in the workplace.
  • Workplaces with 25+ employees are required to implement a written “Disconnect from Work” policy that prohibits work and/or work-related communications outside of regular business hours and instead explicitly states the expectations of the employee. Employers have until June 2nd to put this policy into effect.
  • In order to dampen the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, insurance fund surpluses are to be distributed amongst Schedule 1 employers by the WSIB, and employer remittances are to be streamlined.
  • Employers are prohibited from knowingly engaging with unlicensed recruiters and temporary agencies as they are now all required to hold a license.

 

Although Bill-27 has received Royal Assent, employers are reminded that it is subject to change whether to include more detail or exemptions from the ban on non-competes. It is recommended that employers seek counsel when drafting policies, restrictive covenants, and employment agreements.