On March 21, 2024, Ontario's Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, was granted royal assent. This legislation introduces significant updates to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and other employment laws, impacting both employers and employees. Some provisions took effect immediately, while others are scheduled for June 21, 2024, and future dates as determined by the Lieutenant Governor's proclamation.

What is Bill 149?

Bill 149 is designed to improve worker rights and set new responsibilities for employers in Ontario. The legislation addresses digital platform work, employment standards, regulated professions, and workplace safety, aiming for a more equitable and secure work environment.

Amendments Effective March 21, 2024 for the following Acts

Changes introduced by Bill 149 that will take effect when the minimum wage provisions of the Digital Platform Worker’s Rights Act come into force: 

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022

Pay Periods and Days: Establishes specific limits for pay periods and paydays.

Compliance Flexibility: Introduces flexible rules for complying with wage regulations, particularly regarding the payment of minimum wage.

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Trial Periods and Unpaid Shifts: Revises rules regarding trial periods, unpaid shifts, and wage deductions for cash shortages or property loss.

Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006

Qualification Assessments: Ensures assessments by regulated professions are transparent, objective, impartial, and fair.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

Occupational Disease Presumption: Firefighters and fire investigators with 15 years of service now qualify for WSIB benefits for primary-site esophageal cancer, reduced from the previous 25-year requirement.

Additional Indexing Factor: Introduces provisions for adjusting compensation amounts based on additional indexing factors prescribed by regulation.

Amendments Effective June 21, 2024

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Vacation Pay Agreement: Requires any alternative arrangements for vacation pay to be documented in an agreement between employer and employee.

Prescribed Tips Payment: Specifies that tips must be paid using designated methods such as cash, cheque (payable to the employee), direct deposit, or other authorized methods, ensuring transparency and proper documentation.

Tip-Sharing Policy Documentation: Employers must display tip-sharing policies prominently in the workplace and keep them for at least three years after the policy ends.

Amendments to be Implemented on Future Dates

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Job Postings: Employers must include compensation details and disclose the use of artificial intelligence in job postings.

Canadian Experience: Employers cannot require Canadian experience in publicly advertised job postings or application forms, unless specified by regulation.

Training During Trial Periods: Clarifies that training during trial periods is considered work performed.

Payment Methods: Specifies acceptable methods for paying employees' tips and gratuities, ensuring employee control over direct deposits.

Retention Policies: Requires employers to keep copies of job postings and tip-sharing policies for three years.

Key Considerations for Employers

Job Posting Compliance: Employers must update job postings to include compensation information and AI usage disclosures, ensuring compliance and transparency.

Updated Payment Methods: Employers need to adhere to new payment methods for tips and gratuities, including direct deposit and documentation requirements.

Record Retention: Establish systems for retaining job postings and tip-sharing policies for the required three-year period to avoid penalties.

Digital Platform Worker Adjustments: Digital platform sector employers must follow new rules on pay periods and wage compliance to ensure fair treatment.

Regulated Professions Compliance: Ensure qualification assessments in regulated professions meet transparency and fairness requirements.

Stay informed as we continue to monitor further updates regarding the implementation of Bill 149.