Ontario’s right to disconnect law creates expectations, boundaries

Photo: Jan Weber

Ontario’s “Right to Disconnect” legislation became effective on June 2, 2022. Employers are required to create a Right to Disconnect policy in workplaces with 25 or more employees working for them since January 1, 2022. However, it is possible that the legislation may be amended to increase its breadth.

Setting expectations and boundaries protects workers’ mental health and may attract talent to the companies who use these policies.

Christopher Achkar, Principal Lawyer at Achkar Law, says, “The policy creates expectations and boundaries for employers and employees, helping separate work and home life.”

Christopher Achkar, Principal Lawyer at Achkar Law

The law defines “disconnecting from work” as “not engaging in work-related communications, to properly disconnect from work for the day.”

Employers who reach 25 or more employees on January 1 in any year after 2022 must establish a written policy by March 1 of the same year.

Legislation is “a warning to everyone”

Currently, the legislation does not explicitly say what a policy must contain, but employers should keep an eye out for any updates or changes.

“This legislation is a warning to everyone,” says Achkar, “All employers should have a Right to Disconnect policy, even if they do not reach the minimum employee threshold, to avoid the potential for employee burnout.”

To help employees and employers understand the written policy and how to enforce it, implementing workshops and training related to the policy is recommended.

Forward-Looking Employers

Workplace 3.0: The Right to Disconnect for the Forward-Looking Employer is a free webinar hosted on Eventbrite by Achkar Law on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM (EDT) to help employers use this new policy. The goal is to help companies that are subject to this law, but also to aid smaller employers who must compete for talent.

Register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/workplace-30-the-right-to-disconnect-for-the-forward-looking-employer-tickets-354615052167

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