In a move it says is designed to further strengthen worker protections in Ontario, the provincial government has introduced a new piece of legislation, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023.
This bill aims to build upon the significant strides made by the preceding Working for Workers Acts of 2021, 2022, and 2023, which have collectively contributed to enhanced earnings and integration of newcomers in the province.
Key aspects of the proposed legislation include:
- Transparency in Hiring Practices: The bill mandates employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings. It also requires them to inform candidates if artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in the hiring process. This measure is designed to help job seekers make more informed decisions.
- Enhanced Support for Injured Workers: The legislation proposes the concept of “super indexing,” which allows for increases in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits that exceed the annual rate of inflation. This provision aims to provide better financial support for injured workers. Additionally, it includes improved cancer coverage for firefighters.
- Inclusive Employment Opportunities: In a first for any Canadian province, the bill seeks to prohibit the requirement of Canadian work experience in job postings and application forms. This change is intended to remove barriers for qualified candidates, facilitating a more inclusive job market.
- Protection for Restaurant and Hospitality Workers: The Act includes measures to strengthen wage protections in the hospitality sector. This includes banning unpaid trial shifts, prohibiting wage deductions in cases of dine and dashes or gas and dashes, and safeguarding employees’ tips.
Furthermore, the government announced its plans to launch consultations on two additional worker protection initiatives:
- Restrictions on Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): The consultations will explore limiting the use of NDAs in settling workplace sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence cases.
- Job-Protected Leave for Critical Illnesses: The government is considering the introduction of a new job-protected leave to align with the 26-week duration of federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits, specifically for critical illnesses like cancer.
This legislative proposal represents a continued commitment by the Ontario government to lead in worker protections, with a focus on transparency, inclusivity, and enhanced support for vulnerable workers.