Ontario Disconnect From Work Legislation A Start To Improve Work-Life Balance

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The introduction of legislation that would require companies to develop disconnect from work policies is a welcome start to improve work-life balance for Ontario workers.

If passed, Ontario would become the first jurisdiction in Canada to require disconnect from work policies from companies that employ more than 25 people.

The government is asking companies to consider options including adjusting response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications after-hours. While the Act mandates policies it does not prohibit or set any limits on contact and questions remain around how employer-drafted policies would effectively limit off-hour communication and compensate workers who are expected to provide services after regular hours.

“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.”

The new Working for Workers Act, 2021 legislation also includes a ban on non-compete agreements that limit workers future employment opportunities, keeping them tied to their employer.

The legislation also includes previously announced measures on international training requirements, licensing of temporary help agencies, and access to washroom facilities for workers.

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