Effective October 26, 2023, employees who are reservists have a right to an unpaid leave of absence if they will not be performing the duties of their position because they are in treatment, recovery or rehabilitation for a physical or mental health illness, injury or medical emergency.
This right applies with respect to physical or mental health illnesses, injuries or medical emergencies that resulted from participation in one of the following operations or activities:
- The employee is deployed to a Canadian Forces operation outside of Canada.
- This includes participation, whether inside or outside of Canada, in pre-deployment and post-deployment activities that are required by the Canadian Forces in connection with the operation.
- The employee is deployed to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada that is, or will be, helping to deal with an emergency or its aftermath. This includes:
- search and rescue operations
- recovery from national disasters, such as flood relief and military aid following ice storms and aircraft crash recovery.
- The employee is participating in Canadian Forces military skills training.
The length of time an employee must be employed before being eligible for reservist leave has been shortened from 3 consecutive months to 2 consecutive months, subject to the exception below.
If an employee is deployed within Canada for a Canadian Forces operation related to handling an emergency or its aftermath, they do not need to meet any minimum employment requirements before taking leave.
Effective October 26, 2023, in cases of mass termination (when an employer terminates the employment of 50 or more employees at its establishment within a 4-week period), the term “establishment” includes an employee’s home, but only if the employee works from home and does not work at any other location where the employer carries on business.
This requires that employees who work exclusively remotely be considered for inclusion in the count when determining whether 50 or more employees have been terminated.
Note that where an employee performs work both from their home and from another location where the employer carries on business (for example, an office), their home is not included in the definition of “establishment”. Instead, the employee is considered to have a connection to the office location and, therefore, for the purpose of mass termination, the employee is included with respect to that office location.
In the event of mass termination, on the first day of the notice period the employer must provide the prescribed information in a form approved by the Director of Employment Standards to each of the affected employees.
This new requirement applies along with the existing requirements, which are to:
- provide employees with individual notices of termination
- submit Form 1 (Notice of termination of employment) to the Director of Employment Standards
- post a copy of the Form 1 in the workplace where it will come to the attention of the employees it affects
Temporary help agency and recruiter licensing
Beginning on July 1, 2024 under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA):
- Temporary help agencies are required to hold a licence to operate.
- Clients are prohibited from knowingly engaging or using the services of a temporary help agency unless the agency holds a licence. (Learn more about the relationship between temporary help agencies and clients.)
- Recruiters are required to hold a licence to act as a recruiter.
- Employers, prospective employers and other recruiters are prohibited from knowingly engaging or using the services of any recruiter that does not hold a licence.
Where applications are made before July 1, 2024, there is a transitional rule that may apply.
A new chapter describing these amendments in more detail will be posted soon.
Learn more about licensing for temporary help agencies and recruiters.
Paid infectious disease emergency leave ended on March 31, 2023
The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) was amended on April 29, 2021 to require employers to provide eligible employees with up to three days of paid infectious disease emergency leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. The leave was retroactive to April 19, 2021 and ended on March 31, 2023. Eligible employers could have applied to be reimbursed for these payments through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee, or by July 29, 2023 (whichever was earlier).
Business and information technology consultants
Effective January 1, 2023, if specified criteria are met, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) will not apply to individuals who meet the definition of business consultant or information technology consultant under the ESA.
Temporary ESA rules no longer in effect
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government made a regulation that changed certain Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) rules during the COVID-19 period. The temporary rules ended on July 30, 2022.
Written policy on electronic monitoring
Employers that employ 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year must have a written policy on electronic monitoring in place by March 1 of that year. The employer must, within the specified timeframes, provide a copy of the policy to its employees and to assignment employees who are assigned to perform work for that employer.
The policy must state whether the employer electronically monitors employees. If the employer does, the policy must include:
- a description of how, and in what circumstances, the employer may electronically monitor employees
- the purposes for which the employer may use the information obtained through electronic monitoring
- the date it was prepared and the date any changes were made to the policy
The new requirement for a written policy requires employers to be transparent by providing employees with certain information about electronic monitoring. It does not:
- establish a right for employees not to be electronically monitored by their employer
- create any new privacy rights for employees
Written policy on disconnecting from work
Employers that employ 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year must have a written policy on disconnecting from work in place by March 1 of that year. They must provide a copy of that policy to employees. Disconnecting from work is defined in the ESA.
Non-compete agreements prohibited
Employers are prohibited (with some exceptions), from entering into a non-compete agreement with an employee. Non-compete agreement is defined in the ESA. This prohibition does not apply to non-compete agreements entered into before October 25, 2021.