Williams HR Law LLP

Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 Received Royal Assent: Important Dates for Employers

March 27, 2024

On March 21, 2024, Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 [Bill 149] received Royal Assent. Bill 149 amended several pieces of workplace legislation, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 [ESA], the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 [WSIA], the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, and the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006. This is the latest development in a series of statutes enacted by the Ontario government, including the Working for Workers Act, 2021, the Working for Workers Act, 2022, and Working for Workers Act, 2023, aimed at providing workplace protections and entitlements to employees.

For comprehensive details on the specific amendments made by Bill 149, please refer to our previous blog.

Important Dates

Effective March 21, 2024, under the ESA:

  • The definition of “employee” has been amended to include individuals performing work during a trial period. Effectively, unpaid trial periods are prohibited for protected individuals.
  • Employers are expressly prohibited from withholding, deducting, or requiring the return of wages from employees in “dine-and-dash” and “gas-and-dash” scenarios.

Effective June 21, 2024, under the ESA:

  • Payment methods for tips or gratuities will be prescribed. Employers who share/pool employee tips will also be subject to posting and retention requirements related to tip-sharing/pooling policies.
  • If wage payments are made via direct deposit, the account must be one selected by the employee.
  • Employers who provide vacation pay in a permissible manner other than the “default” will be required to have a written agreement with employees regarding same.

Effective “on a date to be proclaimed”:

Under the ESA:

  • If employers use artificial intelligence to assist with an applicant-selection process, they will be required to disclose that fact in publicly advertised job postings.
  • Employers will be required to disclose expected compensation information in publicly advertised job postings.
  • Employers will be prohibited from requiring Canadian work experience.
  • Employers will be required to retain copies of all publicly advertised job postings and associated applications for three years.

Under the WSIA:

  • There will be an additional indexing factor to facilitate adjustments in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) benefits that are above the annual rate of inflation. This will increase WSIB benefits to eligible injured workers.

Other Announcements

The Ontario government also announced it is still planning consultations for the following proposals, which are similarly aimed at protecting employees:

  • Non-disclosure agreements (also known as “NDAs”) in settlements for workplace sexual harassment, misconduct or violence will be restricted.
  • A new job-protected leave for critical illnesses matching the duration of the 26-week federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits will be considered.

Takeaways for Employers

Bill 149 represents the fourth and latest installment of statutory interventions by the provincial government to mandate additional protections to employees. Employers should respond as they did for previous iterations and engage in the following best practices:

  • Stay Updated: To ensure proper legal compliance, employers should keep track of when the various Bill 149 amendments come into effect, as well as capture further details regarding prescriptions and exceptions. Many amendments will come into effect on a date yet to be proclaimed, and there are further details that have yet to be announced. We will continue to monitor legal developments to help employers stay up to date.
  • Review and Revise Important Documents: Employers should review workplace policies and employment agreements to ensure compliance with the legal amendments. For example, employers with tip-sharing/pooling practices must ensure they adhere to the requirements under the ESA.
  • Provide Training: Employer should engage in workplace training, where applicable, to ensure all employees are aware of relevant statutory amendments and understand which workplace policies or practices have been revised.

For further insights into how Bill 149 and other significant employment law developments may impact your organization, please save the date for our 12th Annual Proactive Workplace Law Seminar on May 30, 2024, which will be held in person at the Richmond Hill Gold & Country Club.


This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.

This information is not intended as legal advice.