Background

In October 2021, the Quebec Government passed Bill 59, An Act to modernize the occupational health and safety regime. The Bill makes substantive changes to statutes involving health and safety in the workplace. These changes will gradually come into effect, with some already in force since October and others coming into force from

To wrap up 2021, we have highlighted key developments in Canadian labour and employment law, with a focus on Ontario:

  1. Bill 27 – Working for Workers Act: On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government passed the Working for Workers Act, 2021 (the “Act“), which introduces significant changes to Ontario’s employment law, including:
    • A Right to Disconnect from Work Policies: Employers subject to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA“) with 25 or more employees must have a written policy which outlines employees’ right to disconnect from work. The term “disconnecting from work” means not engaging in work-related communications (e.g. emails, calls) and not sending or reviewing any messages, so that employees are free from the performance of work outside of normal working hours. Employers have six months from December 3, 2021 to implement the policy.
    • No Non-Compete Agreements: Employers subject to the ESA are prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employees. Non-compete agreements are those that prohibit the employee from working for or running a competitive business after the employment relationship has ended.

There is an exception to the prohibition on non-competition agreements in the event of a sale or lease of a business and for executive-level employees.

This amendment to the ESA is deemed to be in force as of October 25, 2021, and all non-compete agreements entered into before this date will remain unaffected. Non-solicitation, confidentiality, and assignment of intellectual property agreements are still permissible.

The Act brings about a number of additional changes that will be relevant for employers, which are fully summarized here.

Continue Reading Top 10 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2021

Background

On December 9, 2021, the Ontario Government filed a regulation that extended the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“Deemed IDEL“) and the temporary measures previously introduced by O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA“) until July 30, 2022. Further details

As companies call employees back to the physical workplace, more employers are electing to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies to keep employees safe. In turn, some employees are seeking accommodations for disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs that may prevent them from being vaccinated. What should Canadian employers keep top of mind when handling these

On October 22nd, 2021, the Ontario government announced its plan to gradually lift all public health and workplace safety measures by March, 2022. The plan will be guided by public health indicators, including those tracking new COVID-19 variants, increases in hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and rapid increases in transmission.

Provisional Timeline for Removing COVID-19 Restrictions:

    • October

The Ontario Government now requires most Ontario businesses and organizations to implement a workplace screening tool that requires staff members and essential visitors to complete a medical questionnaire before entering the workplace each day. This new requirement is established under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 and became effective on September 26, 2020.
Continue Reading New COVID-19 Workplace Screening Requirements for Ontario Businesses

In a recent decision, Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) held that the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) reasonably concluded that a worker who tested positive for drugs following a workplace accident was terminated because he breached the employer’s drug policy and not for discriminatory reasons. This decision is a welcome result for employers faced with safety risks due to substance use in their workplace.
Continue Reading Proactive Anti-Drug Policy Not Discriminatory: Supreme Court of Canada