Working for Workers Five Act, 2024

HEL Blog post
Published On: May 28, 2024Categories: Employer Alerts, Ontario

After only recently passing the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, the Ontario government has introduced the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024 in Bill 190 which includes further amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), alongside adjustments to other laws like the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”).

Key ESA Amendments:

 a) Transparency in Job Applications and Interviews

Bill 190 would mandate that all publicly advertised job postings specify if the position is currently available or not, aiming to discourage market surveys disguised as job openings. Additionally, employers must furnish certain details to applicants within a set timeframe after interviews, with obligations to retain this information for three years. Bill 190 does not specify what those requirements may be, but clarification will likely come later through regulations.

b) Sick Leave and Evidence Requests

Currently, employees with at least two consecutive weeks of employment are entitled to three days of unpaid leave per year for personal illness, injury, or medical emergencies. While the ESA currently allows employers to request evidence from an employee who requests this leave, Bill 190 will prohibit employers from demanding a certificate from a “qualified health practitioner” as reasonable evidence, while still allowing other reasonable evidence to be required.

c) Higher Penalties for Individuals

Bill 190 proposes doubling the fines for individuals who violate the ESA or fail to comply with its mandates, raising the maximum penalty to $100,000 from $50,000.

OHSA Amendments and Virtual Workplaces

Recognizing the growing prevalence of remote and hybrid work arrangements, Bill 190 broadens the definitions of “workplace harassment” and “workplace sexual harassment” in the OHSA. It encompasses virtual conduct via information and communications technology to address all forms of virtual harassment.

This is a brief overview of the proposed amendments in Bill 190. We will continue to monitor developments and provide a more complete update once the Bill is passed.

If you want more information on this topic, you can contact us at:

Geoffrey Howard:

604 424-9686

Sebastian Chern:

604 424-9688