Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Releases Recommendations on the “Future of Work”
Date: December 10, 2021
On December 9, 2021, the Ontario government released The Future of Work in Ontario, a report from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee that includes 21 recommendations on the future of work in the province. The recommendations focus on three key areas: economic recovery, strengthening the province’s competitive position and supporting workers.
As we reported in our Human Resources Legislative Update of July 21, 2021, Ontario Consults on the “Future of Work” as it enters COVID-19 Recovery Phase, the Committee was formed in response to the disruption to the labour market caused by COVID-19 and the permanent “shift in the landscape of work,” including the shift to remote work.
As part of its consultation process, the Committee met with stakeholders and accepted written submissions from the public about the future of work. The feedback the Committee received through this process helped to inform the Committee’s 21 recommendations for the government. These recommendations include:
- Recommendation 8: Appoint an expert to design and test a portable benefits program, where contributors could be employers, workers, and the government,
- Recommendation 14: Create or clarify terms under which independent contractors are defined, for highly skilled workers who opt for this status for the flexibility,
- Recommendation 15: Create and recognize the dependent contractor category for gig or platform workers in the app-based space and give this category of worker basic employment rights, such as termination pay, minimum wage, minimum or core benefits, regular payment of wages, pay stubs for pay accountability and notice of termination with severance entitlement, and
- Recommendation 18: Simplify the exemptions section of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to make it easier to understand and enforce and more relevant to current and future workers.
Some of the Committee’s recommendations, such as limiting the use of non-compete clauses and introducing the right to disconnect, are included in Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021.
The government stated in its news release that it is considering all of the report’s recommendations and plans to take further action, including steps to protect and support digital platform workers.
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