Ontario Passes New Law Aimed at Improving Work-Life Balance for Employees

The Ontario government has passed new rules on Tuesday which seeks to improve work-life balance for employees through a variety of new expectations.

Office workers hands beside their laptops.

Image via Scott Graham

Office workers hands beside their laptops.

The Ontario government has passed a new law that prioritizes employees’ work-life balance.

Announced on Tuesday, the “Working for Workers Act” requires Ontario businesses with 25 people or more to have a written policy outlining employees’ rights when it comes to disconnecting from their job at the end of the work day. Businesses will be required to create this policy from Jan. 1 to Mar. 1 of each year.

The new law encourages a healthier work-life balance for Ontario employees through a variety of new expectations. Employee response time towards emails and being able to turn off out-of-office notifications while not working will be reevaluated under the new rules.

“We are determined to rebalance the scales and put workers in the driver’s seat of Ontario’s economic growth while attracting the best workers to our great province,” Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said in a statement on Tuesday regarding the Ontario government’s new law for workers.

On top of bolstering employee work-life balance, the new law also bans the use of non-compete clauses, which exist to prevent people from exploring other job opportunities that are in competition with their previous employer’s business. According to the government, Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the first in North America, to ban non-compete agreements in employment.

The act also helps foreign-trained immigrants through removing “unfair” work experience requirements and combats labour trafficking by enforcing mandatory licensing for temporary recruiters and help agencies.

“This legislation is another step towards building back a better province and cementing Ontario’s position as a global leader, for others to follow, as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” McNaughton said of the historic laws.

There are no announcements for the timelines of each law under the Working for Workers Act yet, but the government has said there will be an initial grace period for businesses once enacted.

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