Bill 27: Working for Workers Act – Policy on Disconnecting from Work

Attention all business owners with a staff greater than 25, as of June 2, 2022. Bill 27: Working for Workers Act requires your company to have a policy on disconnecting from the workplace prepared.

According to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) disconnecting form work is defined as “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls, or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.” 

What does this mean for employers though? Well, our Wilkinson and Company’s HR Solutions team has broken it down for you. 

Your policy should include the following:

  • Details defined by the ESA about disconnecting from work 
  • The date the policy was prepared, and the dates of any changes made to the document
  • The inclusion of all employees (this may mean creating different policies for different groups of staff

The guidelines regarding content of the policy are subject to the employer’s discretion however The Ontario Ministry of Labour provided examples of what content could be included in the new policy:

  • Time
  • Subject
  • Employee contact or point person
  • Employer set rules outlining out of office notification of voicemail expectations
  • Employer set rules outlining out of office communication

This new policy must be provided to all employees:

  • Within 30 days of the document being prepared or changed or a new employee being hired (Pro Tip: Include the new policy in your onboarding package for new hires)
  • This document may be provided as a: paper copy, email attachment or link to a downloadable file

We know this may be a lot to take in, and there is much left to the imagination in terms of what this document should look like.

 However, we have provided a downloadable checklist to help you work towards compliance with Bill 27: Working for Workers Act and a link to the Government of Ontario page regarding the new policy.

Besides the new policy requirement, Bill 27: Working for Workers Act also:

  • Bans the use of non-compete agreements that hinder the ability to explore other work opportunities.
  • Requires businesses to allow delivery workers to use washroom facilities when delivering or picking up.
  • Helps remove barriers for internationally trained workers to get licensed in a regulated profession and find work that matches their qualifications.
  • Requires temp agencies and recruiters to have a license to protect vulnerable employees.
  • Allows the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to collect information on the agri-food workforce so coordination of services can be improved.
  • Allows extra money in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Insurance Fund to be distributed to businesses to help cope with COVID-19 impacts.
  • Streamlines remittances for businesses and enables a one stop shop for submission of premiums and payroll deductions.