Bill 27 Introduced, Could Ban Non-Compete Clauses in Most Employment Contracts in Ontario
Oct 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on October 28, 2021

By Barry W. Kwasniewski


Proposed amendments to Ontario’s minimum employment standards would prohibit non-compete agreements, with certain exceptions, and require employers to have written “disconnecting from work” policies that free employees from requirements to engage in work-related communications. Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development introduced Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 in the Legislative Assembly on October 25, 2021 (“Bill 27”), which passed first reading. Bill 27 proposes to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) among other provincial legislation. An amendment to the ESA would add a new Part XV.1 to prohibit employers from entering into employment contracts or other agreements with an employee that are, or that include, a non-compete agreement. Certain exceptions are provided where there is a sale of a business or part of a business and the seller becomes an employee of the purchaser. Bill 27 defines a “non-compete agreement” as

an agreement, or any part of an agreement, between an employer and an employee that prohibits the employee from engaging in any business, work, occupation, profession, project or other activity that is in competition with the employer’s business after the employment relationship between the employee and the employer ends. (“clause de non-concurrence”).

Another proposed amendment in Bill 27 would add Part VII.0.1 to the ESA, which would require employers of 25 or more employees to have a written policy with respect to “disconnecting from work”, which is defined as “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.” New sections 74.1.1 and 74.1.2 in the ESA would prohibit persons from operating a temporary help agency or acting as a recruiter without a licence for that purpose.

Bill 27 would also amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require the owner of a workplace to provide access to a washroom to persons making deliveries to or from the workplace. Exceptions are provided if providing washroom access “would not be reasonable or practical for reasons relating to the health or safety of any person in the workplace”, or if it would not be reasonable or practical “having regard to all the circumstances,” or “if the washroom is in, or can only be accessed through, a dwelling.”


Read the October 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update