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Hilary Page brings a diverse legal background to her employment law practice. She started her career summering with a litigation boutique in downtown Toronto and then articled in-house at a municipality, where she developed an interest in workplace and human rights law.

Working for Workers Act received Royal Assent, making it now law
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In March, we blogged about Bill 88 or the Working for Workers Act (part 2) (the Act). You can read that post here. On April 11, 2022, the Act received Royal Assent, making it now law. Most significant to employers, who are not Uber etc., are the changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000  (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The Act has attracted the most attention for the creation of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, which will have big implications for digital platform workers and “employers” like Uber and Skip the Dishes, however, the Act impacts non-digital platform employers too. 

Here’s the rundown of what’s new in the ESA and the OHSA.
Continue Reading Working for Workers Act 2 Passes in the Ontario Legislature: What Employers Who Aren’t Uber Need to Know to Comply

Government changes to the covid-19 safety measures & workplace policiesAcross Canada, government mandates regarding masking and vaccination are lifting. In Ontario, vaccine passports are no longer required as of March 1 and masking mandates were lifted as of March 21. Employers who previously rolled out vaccination policies may be wondering what these wider government changes mean for their workplace policies. 

Is A Vaccination Policy Necessary?

The shift in governmental approach towards COVID-19 safety protocols will likely mean that employers looking to justify invasions of employee privacy – i.e. disclosing vaccination status –  based on reasonable health and safety concerns will be less able to do so. This is because the consensus, as evidenced by the change in government mandates, is that maybe this need is not based on a legitimate health and safety concern. This may vary depending on the workplace, but we note that even the employee vaccination mandate for long-term care homes –  which was legally required – has been lifted. 
Continue Reading What Does the End of Provincial Covid-19 Safety Measures Mean for Workplace Policies?

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act: Bill 88 proposes new changes to ESA
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Bill 88 has been receiving a lot of media attention for the aspects related to digital platform workers and the proposed creation of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022. While this will impact many workers, it will not have an impact on most employers. Employers do need to pay attention to other aspects of the Bill, which propose new changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000. Chief among these is a new requirement for employers with 25 employees or more to have a written policy with respect to electronic monitoring of employees.

Electronic Monitoring of Employees

If passed, Bill 88 will require that employers who employ 25 employees or more, on January 1 of any given year, have a written policy with respect to the electronic monitoring of employees. The wording of the Bill suggests that even employers who do not electronically monitor employees will be required to have a written policy, provided they employ 25 employees or more on January 1 of any given year. 
Continue Reading Bill 88: More Changes to the Employment Standards Act

Religious accommodation for vaccines
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In the context of the increasing prevalence of vaccine mandates, employee requests for accommodation on religious grounds are becoming common. Religious beliefs and practices and the resulting accommodation requests can be varied and tricky. Today we will take a look at what employers should know and do about requests for accommodation based on religion. 

What Do Employers Need to Accommodate?

Human rights legislation across Canada provides employees with protections from discrimination on the basis of creed or religious beliefs or practices. Employers must accommodate up to the point of undue hardship. 
Continue Reading Religious Accommodation & Vaccination – What’s the deal?

update your employment contracts
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Why Employment Contracts are Good

Our readers are probably sick of hearing us go on about employment contracts, but we will never stop recommending them!

An employment contract gives both employers and employees certainty about their entitlements both with respect to compensation and also on exit. 

Whether terms are written down or not, employment relationships will be governed by various terms. In the absence of a contract, courts read in implied terms of employment from the common law. It’s better to get those terms written down so you actually know what they are and don’t have to wait for a judge to tell you! 
Continue Reading Why you should update your employment contracts and why January is a good time to do so

Office holiday party and Covid-19 considerations
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Likely you’ve noticed that the holiday season is upon us! Often around this time of year, we’ve written a blog post about holiday office parties. Usually, these have revolved around topics like social host liability, drinking and sexual harassment. This year, many workplaces are eager to get the gang back together in person and have the additional consideration of COVID-19! What to do?!

Where to Party?

An easy option, which will allow employers to avoid having to reinvent the wheel, will be to have the holiday party at a restaurant. Restaurants know the local public health rules and you won’t have to ruin the night for your HR person by requiring them to be the mask police all night. Proof of vaccination is required to dine indoors in most jurisdictions and the restaurant will have a set-up for contract tracing and vaccination checks. 
Continue Reading Time to Party IRL?

Arbitration Decisions on Mandatory Vaccination Policies
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This month has seen arbitral treatment of two mandatory vaccination policies in the context of unionized workplaces. In a grievance brought by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Canada, Local 333 against employer Paragon Protection Ltd., the arbitrator found that the employer’s vaccination policy was reasonable. In a grievance brought by the Power Workers’ Union (the “PWU”) against employer Electrical Safety Authority, the arbitrator found that it was not.

Paragon Protection’s Vaccination Policy

Paragon Protection Ltd. provides security services and employs 4,400 unionized security guards to hundreds of client sites across Ontario. Many of these client sites had vaccination requirements. Paragon gave its employees approximately two months notice that they would be requiring them to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees would report their vaccination status by way of a declaration. The policy allowed exemptions for human rights reasons on the basis of creed/religion and health. 
Continue Reading Arbitration Decisions on Mandatory Vaccination Policies

A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes
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On October 25, Ontario Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“the Bill”) passed first reading. This Bill proposes amendments to our key Ontario employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In today’s post, we will review highlights regarding the proposed ban on non-competes and talk about how Ontario businesses can prepare. 

A Ban On Non-Competes

One much-discussed element of the Bill is the proposed ban on non-competition agreements in employment contracts. 

A non-competition agreement restricts – or tries to – an employee’s ability, for a period of time, to work for a competitor after leaving the employer. The restriction is usually somewhere between three months to two years. 
Continue Reading A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes