Employment Update

By Barry W. Kwasniewski and Martin U. Wissmath

May 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on May 30, 2024



Minimum Wage to Increase, More Requirements for Job Ads and Harassment Policies

The Ontario government is seeking to further enhance protections for employees, and place further requirements on employers for compliance with provincial employment laws. Bill 190, Working for Workers Five Act, 2024 (“Bill 190”) was introduced on May 6, 2024. Currently in Second Reading in the Legislative Assembly, Bill 190 would amend several key Employment Law statutes including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act,1997 (“WSIA”), among others.

Charities and not-for-profits employing staff will need to comply with the new ESA and OHSA requirements, particularly in job postings, virtual and remote worker conditions, and workplace harassment policies. The increased penalties under the ESA highlight the importance of compliance with employment statutes and regulations. In its May 6 Announcement, the provincial government also stated that it will raise the general minimum wage from $16.55 per hour to $17.20 effective October 1, 2024, in accordance with the 3.9 per cent annualized wage increase based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index. Key provisions of Bill 190 are listed here below.

ESA Amendments

  • Job postings: Employers would be required to indicate whether a job posting is for an existing vacancy. They would also need to provide information, to be prescribed by regulation, to candidates interviewed for these positions and retain related records for three years.
  • Sick leave documentation: Employers could no longer require a note from a “qualified health practitioner” (defined as a physician, registered nurse or a psychologist) for job-protected sick leave, though other forms of evidence “reasonable in the circumstances” could still be requested. What may be “reasonable in the circumstances” is not addressed in the ESA.
  • Increased penalties: The maximum fine for ESA violations for individuals would be raised from $50,000 to $100,000.

OHSA Amendments

  • Remote workers: Extends OHSA provisions to cover “telework” performed in private residences.
  • Workplace Harassment: Expands definitions of “workplace harassment” and “workplace sexual harassment” to include virtual harassment through information and communications technology.
  • Sanitary facilities: Requires clean and sanitary maintenance of washroom facilities on construction sites.
  • Electronic posting: Allows OHSA requirements for posting information in the workplace to be in a “readily accessible electronic format” if the employer provides workers with direction on where and how to access the information.

Read the May 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update