Attention employers and job seekers! As a result of some incoming changes to the Employment Standards Act, job postings are about to look different!

Ontario’s Working For Workers Four Act received Royal Assent on March 21, 2024. And now, a brief interlude on Ontario’s law-making process in case you’ve forgotten: Royal Assent is the last step in the process that makes a Bill law.

Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, it is officially law. However, in some cases, like with this Bill, many of the changes are not yet in force and will only take effect at a later date. In this case, this is good news as it gives employers a chance to consider how to operationalize the new changes. 

While the Working For Workers Four Act will impact four existing pieces of legislation, many of the new changes will specifically impact job postings (for a complete summary of the changes written in plain language, see the Government’s summary here). These new legal changes to job postings will likely have a practical impact on the hiring process. Read on for some of the updates and considerations employers will need to keep in mind while we wait for these new changes to job postings to officially take effect:

  • Expected compensation: According to the Ontario Government, only 37% of job postings in 2022 in Ontario included salary information. This new change will require that employers outline the expected compensation or compensation range in all publicly available job postings. This may mean that the often daunting task of sorting through resumes may become either much easier or more difficult as applicants may decide to opt in or out of a job application process based on the expected compensation range. It will also likely force employers to stick to the compensation as outlined in the job posting when it comes to making an offer or face the prospect that employees will walk away from the offer altogether. 
  • No reference to Canadian experience: This new change builds on the Government’s move in 2023 to prohibit regulated professions from requiring Canadian work experience. As a result of this new change in 2024, employers will be prohibited from listing Canadian experience as a requirement of the job in the job posting/application. This change is aimed at addressing one of the most prominent barriers that newcomers to Ontario face when trying to secure employment. 
  • Use of Artificial Intelligence: This change requires employers to disclose (in any publicly available job posting) the use of artificial intelligence in the hiring process. If you haven’t heard of or encountered ‘White Fonting’ by now, this change means you likely will. White Fonting is a quick and easy trick that some job hunters swear by especially given the growing use of artificial intelligence in the hiring process. Essentially, white fonting boils down to copying a list of relevant keywords from the job description (or the job description itself), pasting it into the applicant’s resume, and changing the font colour to white. The intent is that keywords important for the selection of the resume will be noticed by artificial intelligence but remain unseen by the humans involved in the process. Colloquially, there seems to be a growing frustration among job seekers that their applications are being unfairly ignored by artificial intelligence without any clear reason why. It’s easy to imagine how frustrating it might feel to not be selected for an interview because you merely used a synonym for a particular term or phrase that the artificial intelligence wasn’t programmed to look for. While we won’t weigh in on the ethics of white fonting, we do expect that employers may begin encountering it more frequently when declaring that they are using A.I. in the job posting. 
  • Retain Copies of the Posting: Finally, these new changes will require that employers retain copies of every publicly posted job posting once the posting is no longer publicly accessible. Employers should take this time to consider the most practical way to organize and store job postings given this incoming change.

Stay tuned for any announcements regarding the date on which these changes will take effect by keeping up with our blog or get in touch.