Bill 88 Passes- Here's What It Means for Ontario Employers

On April 11, 2022, Bill 88 – the Working for Workers Act, 2022, also known as "the Act," became law. It not only enacts a Digital Platform Workers' Rights Act, 2022, but it also makes amendments to several acts. These include the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1990, the Employment Standards Act, 2000, and the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006. Read on to know the summary of key points on what the passing of Bill 88 means for Ontario employers

1.       Workplace Electronic Monitoring Policy

Employers who have 25 or more employees need to maintain a written policy regarding the electronic monitoring of employees. It should mention when the policy was created when it was modified and how employees are monitored electronically. This policy should be provided to employees within certain timeframes and should be retained for certain periods.

2.       Changes to Employment Standards Act, 2000 for IT and Business Consultants

Bill 88 defines what constitutes a business consultant and an information technology consultant. It also highlights the requirements that need to be met for Ontario's employment standards legislation not to apply to such persons. These amendments will be enforced from January 1, 2023.

3.       New Digital Platform Workers' Rights Act

This new act is meant to establish rights for workers who perform digital platform work. It includes a right to information, minimum wage, recurring pay period and payday, a notice of removal from an operator's digital platform, resolving disputes in Ontario, reprisal, director liability, complaints, and enforcement.

Digital platform work is defined as the provision of payment rideshare, courier, delivery, or other prescribed services by workers to whom an operator offers work assignments by using a digital platform.

4.       Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

According to Bill 88, OSHA is also amended, and employers now need to provide naloxone kits and comply with related requirements if the employer becomes aware or needs to be aware that a worker has or might have an opioid overdose at a workplace where that worker performs work for the employer, or where the prescribed circumstances exist.

There was also an increase in the limitation period of which a prosecution must be instituted from 1 to 2 years. Also, the maximum fines for directors and officers under the OHSA were raised. It also implements a list of aggravating factors to consider when determining a penalty.

5.       Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006

Bill 88 also established timelines within which regulated professions must respond to applications for registration from domestic labor mobility applicants unless an exemption is granted from the requirement.

The Criticism

Gig Workers United and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have condemned Bill 88 passed by the Ford government.

Jennifer Scott, president of Gig Workers United, said, "We know gig workers around the world who have dealt with minimum wage for 'engaged time.' This government is playing a dangerous game with devastating consequences; bringing in a stand-alone bill that carves gig workers out of Employment Standards Act rights and protections is exactly what Uber has been lobbying for – this is the Working for Uber Act. I don't see how this Government could pretend this is an improvement for us, when the $15 for time on assignment is even lower than the wage Uber was lobbying for."

Know more about Bill 88 here.



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