Advancements in the digital world have had major impacts on employment relationships and how work is performed. In recognition of the changing nature of work, the Ontario government has recently proposed legislation that would, if passed, establish new protections related to the digital aspects of employment.
The proposed legislation, the Working for Workers Act, 2022 (“Bill 88”), has not been enacted into law yet. However, as Bill 88 proceeds through the legislative process, this blog will outline potential changes and further explain how they may impact workers if passed.
Currently, Ontario does not have specific legislation relating to an employee’s right to privacy. However, Ontario courts have stated that employees generally have the right against privacy intrusions unless there is a legitimate reason why the intrusion is necessary.
Bill 88 proposes additional requirements to protect an employee’s privacy in the workplace. If passed, the legislation would require employers to disclose to their employees if they are electronically monitoring them and if so, the employer would be required to explain and justify the reason for collecting the information.
The proposed employee monitoring changes may require employers with over 25 workers to have a written electronic monitoring policy in place that contains the following information:
- Whether the employer electronically monitors its workers;
- Descriptions of how and in what situations the employer electronically monitors workers; and
- The purpose of collecting information through electronic monitoring.
Work Requirements for Digital Platform Workers
Individuals working for digital platforms such as Uber, DoorDash, or Instacart do not usually have the minimum protections and rights that other Ontario workers have. However, gig work and digital platform work have substantially increased over the past few years and this rise is projected to continue.
These casual working relationships allow workers to have a higher degree of flexibility, however, it also introduces a higher risk of employee exploitation. For example, digital platforms may not provide their workers with all the information about how their wages are earned or they may unfairly penalize workers without providing opportunities for resolution.
In consideration of this shift in employment relationships and the increasingly casual nature of work, the Ontario Government is proposing that digital platform workers should be provided with minimum entitlements to allow them similar rights and protections that other workers may enjoy.
Bill 88 proposes that digital platform workers should be entitled to the following:
- Earning the general minimum wage for time worked;
- The right to keep their tips along with regular pay periods;
- The right to information and clarity around digital platform algorithms including:
- how pay is calculated; and
- how and why a worker might be penalized in the allocation of work;
- Written notice if they are being removed from the platform and why;
- The right to resolve their work-related disputes in Ontario; and
- Protection from reprisal should they seek to assert their rights.
These proposed changes may be a step toward recognizing the shift from traditional working relationships to more digital and flexible working relationships as they become more common.
We will continue to monitor the process of Bill 88 and provide updates as they are available. If you have any questions about Bill 88 and its impacts on employment, please contact your Toronto employment lawyers at Sultan Lawyers for a flat-rate consultation. We can be reached at 416-214-5111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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