Canadian Manufacturing

Ontario trying to create a better future for prospective workers

The proposed legislation will also prohibit employers from using non-compete agreements.

October 25, 2021  by CM Staff

TORONTO — The Ontario government is introducing legislation on Oct. 25 that, if passed, would better protect, support, and attract workers to the province. These proposed new measures try and position Ontario as a first mover in charting the path forward as the way people work changes. The proposed changes would promote healthy work-life balance and will further enable competitiveness by banning unfair non-compete agreements that are used to restrict work opportunities, suppress salary increases and wage growth.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, will today introduce the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which would help make Ontario a better choice for people around the world to live, work and raise a family.

“COVID-19 has changed the way we work, leaving too many people behind, struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet for their families,” said Minister McNaughton. “Our government is working for workers. To do so, we must act swiftly and decisively to put workers in the driver’s seat and begin rebalancing the scales. Today’s proposed legislation shows Ontario is ready to lead the way into the workplaces of tomorrow, and create the conditions that will make talented, innovative people want to work in our great province.”

If passed, this proposed legislation would require employers with 25 employees or more to develop disconnecting from work policies. These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working.

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The proposed legislation will also prohibit employers from using non-compete agreements. These types of contracts often restrict employees from taking new jobs with another business in the same field after they leave the company. The proposed changes would ban this unfair restriction to help workers in Ontario advance their careers and earn more money. This would also give the province a competitive advantage in attracting global talent. Employers would still be able to protect their intellectual property through narrower clauses.

Measures proposed earlier this month will also be part of this legislation. This includes making it easier for internationally-trained individuals to practice in regulated professions, protecting vulnerable workers by establishing a licensing framework for recruiters and temporary help agencies, ensuring washroom access for delivery workers by requiring business owners to allow them to use the washrooms at the businesses they serve, and supporting businesses who continue to suffer from the impacts of COVID-19.