In November 2021, the Ontario government passed the Working for Workers Act, 2021 [WFWA 2021] and significantly changed the province’s employment standards framework. The WFWA 2021 amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 [ESA] require certain employers to implement polices related to disconnecting from work.
Ontario employers that have 25 or more employees as of January 1, 2022, are required to implement a disconnecting from work policy (a “DFW Policy”) by June 2, 2022. However, this extended grace period is shortened in future years. From 2023 onwards, affected employers will be required to implement a written DFW Policy by March 1 of future years in which they have 25 or more employees as of January 1 of that same year.
Employers to whom the policy requirement applies must:
- develop a written DFW Policy and ensure the DFW Policy is about disconnecting from work as defined by the ESA;
- include the date it was prepared and/or any changes that were made to the DFW Policy;
- ensure all employees are covered by a DFW Policy, even if the rules are different for different groups of employees;
- provide a copy of the written DFW Policy to all existing employees within 30 calendar days of the DFW Policy being prepared and/or changed, and provide a copy of the written DFW Policy to all new employees within 30 days of the employee being hired; and
- retain a copy of every written DFW Policy for three years after the DFW Policy is no longer in effect.
Crucially, the requirement to implement a DFW Policy does not mean that employees now have a new right to disconnect from work. For more information about DFW Policies, please see our recent blog post or the spring edition of our In The Know newsletter
Employers that require assistance drafting a DFW Policy should contact a Williams HR Law lawyer for guidance.