Proposed Amendments to Employment Standards Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act

Ontario’s Minister of Labour has introduced Bill 27, the proposed Working for Workers Act, 2021. If passed and proclaimed in force, this Bill would amend several current statutes. 

We think that a couple of the proposed amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) may be of interest to some condominium corporations and condominium managers. A proposed amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) may also be of interest to condominium corporations and condominium managers.

ESA:  Requirement for “Disconnecting from Work” Policies

Under the proposed legislation, employers with 25 or more employees will be required to have written policies about employees disconnecting from work outside normal working hours. Under the proposed legislation “disconnecting from work” means “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work”.

The detailed requirements, in relation to such policies, are to be set out in Regulations. Therefore, much of the detail is not yet available. No doubt the Regulations will also include various exceptions.

Given the application only to larger employers (with 25 or more employees), this requirement won’t apply to many (if any) condominium corporations. But it may apply to some condominium managers.

ESA:  Non-Competition Clauses

Under the proposed legislation, non-competition agreements (in employment contracts) will no longer be permitted, except in cases where a business is sold and the seller will become an employee of the purchaser.

Again, this new provision, if it becomes law, likely won’t apply to any condominium corporations (because condominium corporations – being not-for-profit corporations – are generally not concerned about competition from employees).  However, this new restriction could apply to many condominium managers.

OHSA:  Access to Washrooms for Delivery Persons

Under the proposed legislation, delivery persons (if making a delivery or pick-up at a workplace) must be given the right to gain access to washroom facilities in the workplace, unless this is determined to be unreasonable or impractical in the particular circumstances. 

In cases where a condominium corporation has an employee, the condominium property is typically considered a “workplace”. However, this obligation (to allow access to washroom facilities for delivery persons) won’t apply if the washroom is in, or can only be accessed through, a dwelling.   

In the case of a residential condominium, the condominium’s common elements may well qualify as “part of each dwelling” (in which case these rights would not apply). Hopefully the Regulations will make this clear.

Status of Bill 27

Bill 27 received First Reading (and was carried) on October 25, 2021 and received Second Reading (and was carried) on November 3, 2021. It has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for further consideration and consultation. There is every reason to believe that the Bill (and associated Regulations) will be finalized and will receive Third Reading and Royal Assent, and that the Bill will ultimately be proclaimed in force!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on legislative amendments which could be of interest to condominium corporations!