Pivotal HR Ontario Introduces Working for Workers Five Act Bill 190

Ontario Introduces Working for Workers Five Act (Bill 190)

On May 6, 2024, the Government of Ontario introduced the Working for Workers Five Act, 2024 (Bill 190). If passed, it would modify multiple policy, legislative, and regulatory frameworks, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000Occupational Health and Safety Act, and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The proposed changes are summarized below:

Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)

  • Require employers to disclose in publicly advertised job postings whether a position is vacant and respond to applicants they have interviewed for those jobs.
  • Require employers who interview applicants for a publicly advertised job posting to provide the applicant with the necessary information within a prescribed time period.
  • Prohibit employers from requiring a sick note from a medical professional for a worker’s job-protected sick leave under the ESA. Employers could still request another form of evidence that is reasonable in the circumstances, such as an attestation.
  • Double the maximum fine for individuals convicted of violating the ESA from $50,000 to $100,000.
  • Make regulatory changes to increase the penalty for repeat offenders who have contravened the same provision of the ESA three or more times from $1,000 to $5,000.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

  • Extend the application of the OHSA to a private residence where remote work is performed.
  • Modernize the definition of harassment to include protection against virtual harassment, including virtual sexual harassment, to respond to increasingly digital work practices and reflect the future of work.
  • Allow for electronic copies of the OHSA to meet posting requirements and allowing joint health and safety committee meetings to be held virtually.
  • Eliminate the requirement that joint health and safety committee meetings must occur in the workplace.
  • Require washrooms provided to workers to be clean and sanitary and ensure accountability by maintaining records of cleaning as prescribed by regulations.
  • Require menstrual products on construction projects with 20 or more regularly employed workers and where the project is expected to last at least three months. Note: this regulatory amendment has already been enacted per O. Reg. 194/24, and will come into force January 1, 2025.

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