Bevertec Logo

Bill 149: What Ontario Employers and Employees Need to Know

Author: Bevertec |

Bevertec Newsroom - Press Releases, Articles and News

On March 21, 2024, Bill 149, officially titled the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, received royal assent. This legislation introduces significant changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), as well as other employment-related laws, which employers need to be aware of. Some provisions of Bill 149 took effect immediately on March 21, 2024, while others are scheduled to come into force on June 21, 2024. Additionally, certain sections will be enacted on dates determined by the Lieutenant Governor's proclamation. 

What is Bill 149?

Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, is Ontario's legislative response to improve workers' rights and employer responsibilities. It focuses on key areas like digital platform work, employment standards, regulated professions, and workplace safety, aiming for a fairer and safer work environment across the province.

Key Changes Introduced by Bill 149

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 

Changes introduced by Bill 149 that will take effect when the minimum wage provisions of the Digital Platform Worker’s Rights Act come into force: 

Recurring Pay Periods and Days: Introduces prescribed limits for recurring pay periods and paydays.

Compliance Rules: Establishes rules for determining compliance with wage regulations, allowing for flexibility in how minimum wage is paid.

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Amendments effective since March 21, 2024:

Changes related to trial periods and unpaid shifts, and rules about deducting wages for cash shortages or loss of property.

Amendments effective on June 21, 2024:

Vacation Pay Agreement: Any alternate pay arrangement regarding vacation pay must be documented in an agreement between the employer and employee.

Prescribed Tips Payment: Employers must pay tips or gratuities to employees using prescribed methods such as cash, cheque (payable only to the employee), direct deposit, or other authorized payment methods. Payments made in cash or by cheque must be handed to the employee at the workplace or an agreed-upon location.

Tip-Sharing Policy Documentation: Employers with tip-sharing policies must keep a copy of the policy in a conspicuous place at the workplace and retain it for at least three years after the policy ends.

Amendments to be effective on a future date to be named by proclamation:

Job Postings: Mandates that employers include compensation information and disclose the use of artificial intelligence in publicly advertised job postings.

Canadian Experience: Employers are prohibited from including Canadian experience requirements in publicly advertised job postings or associated application forms, unless otherwise specified by regulation

Trial Periods: Clarifies that training during trial periods qualifies as work performed.

Payment Methods: Specifies acceptable methods for paying employees’ tips and gratuities, ensuring transparency and employee control over direct deposits.

Retention Policies: Requires employers to retain copies of job postings and tip-sharing policies for three years.

Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006

Amendments effective since March 21, 2024:

Qualification Assessments: Ensures that assessments of qualifications by regulated professions are transparent, objective, impartial, and fair, meeting specific regulatory requirements.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

Amendments effective since March 21, 2024:

Occupational Disease Presumption: Firefighters and fire investigators qualify for Workplace Safety and Insurance (WSIB) benefits for primary-site esophageal cancer after 15 years of service, a reduction from the previous requirement of 25 years.

Additional Indexing Factor: Introduces provisions for adjusting compensation amounts based on additional indexing factors prescribed by regulation.

Key Takeaways for Employers

Compliance with New Posting Requirements: Employers must update their job posting practices to include compensation details and disclose the use of artificial intelligence. This enhances transparency and ensures compliance with the new regulations.

Updated Payment Methods: Employers need to ensure they comply with the new payment methods for tips and gratuities, including direct deposit criteria and retention of tip-sharing policies.

Retention of Records: It's crucial for employers to establish systems for retaining job postings and tip-sharing policies for the required three-year period to avoid penalties.

Adjustments for Digital Platform Workers: Employers in the digital platform sector must adhere to new rules regarding pay periods and compliance, ensuring fair treatment and timely payment of wages.

Regulated Professions Compliance: Employers in regulated professions must ensure their qualification assessments are transparent and fair, meeting the prescribed regulatory requirements.

We will continue to monitor the roll-out of Bill 149 for further updates.