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Bill 149 – Ontario’s Working for Workers Four Act, 2024

By: George Waggott, founder, George Waggott Law and Miki Ackermann, Culture & Talent Works

Ontario’s Bill 149 received Royal Assent on March 21, 204. Several changes to Ontario workplace legislation are coming, and here is a brief summary of some of the changes you may want to know about.

  1. Pay transparency in Job Postings: Employers will be required to include information about expected compensation for a position (or a range of expected compensation) on publicly- advertised job postings. Impact: Although no enforcement date has been announced yet, use this time to prepare. It will now be important to check your salaries and ensure your compensation approach is equitable and fair, across all jobs in your business. Once this legislation is enforced, your staff will quickly become aware of pay bands and salaries in your business. We recommend implementing a pay transparency policy and completing an internal pay audit as soon as possible. Some organizations are “getting ahead of it” by proceeding now with this type of review. In some cases, this is also required because of comparable laws which have been adopted in other jurisdictions.

  2. AI and recruitment – Notice in Job Postings: Employers who use AI to screen, assess, or select applicants will be required to include a statement in publicly-advertised job postings, advising of the use of AI tools. Impact: The coming-into-force date for this change is yet to be announced. However, even the announcement of this change may impact practices within organizations. As noted above, we recommend that employers audit their use of AI recruitment tools to ensure they are working fairly and not perpetuating discrimination, biases, and contravening against protected characteristics in the Ontario Human Rights Code. In this area, it is also important to note that employers have an onus of proving that their actions are not discriminatory, which means they must be able to explain what technology they are using, and how those tools operate.

  3. "Canadian Experience Required” to be Banned: With this change, employers will no longer be permitted to include wording in publicly advertised job postings which indicates that Canadian experience is a requirement of the position. The same rule will also apply to job application forms. Impact: As with other items above, the coming-into-force date for this change is yet to be announced. Employers should prepare for this new rule by reviewing job descriptions, job postings, application forms, and recruiting postings and practices.

  4. Restaurant deductions “Dine and Dash” Rule: Employers in Ontario are now prohibited from withholding or deducting wages from an employee where a customer of a restaurant, gas station, or other establishment leaves without paying for their goods or services. This means that an employee cannot be required to pay for the bill of a so-called “dine and dash” patron. Impact: This rule is currently in force. Employers must therefore review any related practices and policies and revise them comply with this requirement.

  5. Tips and Gratuities – Revised Rules: Employers that have a tip sharing policy in place must post a copy of the policy in a workplace location where it is noticeable to employees. The relevant policy also must be retained for 3 years. Tips and gratuities also must be paid directly to the employee: employers can pay employees tips and gratuities in cash, cheque payable only to the employee, via direct deposit, or another prescribed method of payment. Impact: These rules come into force as of June 21, 2024.

  6. Trial Periods Must be Paid: What used to be unpaid trial or training periods will now be considered paid time. This means that employees will be considered to be working and subject to the provisions of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 once they commence a trial or training period. Impact: This rule is now in force.

  7. HR Record Retention: Publicly advertised job postings and related application forms must be retained for 3 years from the date when the posting or form is taken down or no longer used. In-force date to be announced. Impact: The coming-into-force date for this new rule has yet to be announced. Employers will need to consider how and where to retain HR records if they do not already have such arrangements in place.

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