New for 2022

Ontario employers should already have a written Workplace Vaccination Policy and those with more than 25 employees will have until June 2, 2022 to implement and provide employees with a copy of their written Disconnecting from Work Policy.

Additionally, Ontario employers can no longer enter into non-competition agreements with non-C suite employees. Existing employment agreements should be reviewed for provisions that may be construed as directly or indirectly preventing post-employment competition. Properly worded confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-solicitation and intellectual property provisions are still permissible to protect the employer’s interests.

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 has been further extended to July 30, 2022. The Courts have not finally decided on the impact of this deemed leave on the ability of employers to lay off employees in the absence of a contractual right to do so.

Calculation of severance pay under Section 64 of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 is now to be based on the employer’s global headcount and payroll. It remains to be settled how “global” will be assessed in the case of closely inter-related companies.

Ontario employers are required by law to have the following workplace policies:

  • an Accessibility Policy;
  • a Pay Equity Plan (employers with 10 or more employees);
  • a Workplace Health and Safety Policy;
  • a Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy;
  • a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan;
  • a Workplace Vaccination Policy; and
  • a Disconnecting from Work Policy.

While not required by law, there are other policies that employers should consider implementing, including:

  • an Absenteeism Policy;
  • an Accommodation Policy;
  • a Human Rights Policy;
  • an Intoxicants Policy (updated to address medical and non-medical cannabis in addition to alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and illegal drugs);
  • an Investigations Policy;
  • a Privacy Policy; and
  • a Social Media Policy.

Ontario employers are required by law to carry out:

  • Accessibility training;
  • Harassment prevention and training;
  • Health and Safety prevention and training; and
  • Violence prevention and training.

Postings required by law in Ontario workplaces include:

  • Poster: “Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here”;
  • Poster: “What you Need to Know” about the Employment Standards Act;
  • Poster: “In Case of Injury” if your workplace is covered by the WSIB;
  • Copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be available on site; and
  • Your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan

Health and Safety Committee or Representative are required by law in Ontario workplaces:

  • A Joint Health and Safety Committee must be formed and trained if your organization employs 20 or more employees.
  • A Health and Safety Representative must be selected and trained if your organization employs more than 5 but less than 20 employees.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”):

  • Organizations with 20 or more employees in Ontario must file an Accessibility Compliance Report. The Report form and additional information is available online from the Government of Ontario. Small organizations having more than 20 but fewer than 50 employees are only required to complete an accessibility report with respect to the accessibility standards for customer service.
  • Organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must have made their websites and web content accessible to the WCAG 2.0 standard.

Annual Document Update:

Review your employment agreements, employee handbooks and employment policies to ensure that they are compliant with the latest statutory revisions and judicial decisions.

And finally…

Employment law is a constantly evolving field, so contact Eric Kay at ekay@dickinson-wright.com or another employment lawyer at Dickinson Wright LLP to obtain advice with respect to particular employment policies, issues or problems.

DISCLAIMER:

This commentary is for information purposes only and its provision does not form a lawyer-client relationship or constitute legal advice.

 

About the Author

W. Eric Key (Partner, Toronto), is a partner in the firm’s Toronto office and is a member of the labor and employment department. To contact Eric, email him at EKay@dickinsonwright.com.