Labour Minister issues statement on passage of fourth Working for Workers Act

Piccini says act improves wage protections for the dining, hospitality, and service industries

Labour Minister issues statement on passage of fourth Working for Workers Act

The Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, David Piccini, has released a statement after the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024 received Royal Assent.

“By putting workers first, we are filling the labour shortage, incentivizing employers to create more local jobs and helping more workers land a better job with a bigger paycheque,” Piccini said.

According to the labour minister, the new legislation is part of Ontario's ongoing effort to enhance workers' rights. Key provisions of the act include reducing the required employment duration for firefighters and fire investigators to qualify for compensation upon a diagnosis of esophageal cancer from 25 to 15 years. This adjustment aims to acknowledge the occupational risks and improve cancer coverage for these workers.

Piccini said that the act strengthens wage protections for the restaurant, hospitality, and service industries by prohibiting the deduction of wages for losses due to dine-and-dashes or gas-and-dashes. It mandates payment for trial shifts and requires clear communication from employers on policies regarding tip pooling and direct deposit of tips. Additionally, the act mandates that employers disclose in the workplace if they participate in tip pooling, provided they perform the same work as their staff.

According to Piccini, Ontario is the first province to eliminate the requirement for Canadian experience in job postings and applications. This measure is intended to streamline the hiring process for qualified candidates, particularly in high-demand sectors like healthcare. It follows legislation prohibiting discriminatory Canadian work experience requirements in licensing for more than 30 occupations.

The legislation also simplifies eligibility criteria for international students under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). It requires that employers disclose salary ranges in job postings and inform candidates if artificial intelligence will be used during the hiring process. Moreover, it aims to improve the oversight and transparency of how regulated professions assess international qualifications.

Clarifications regarding vacation pay provisions are included to ensure employees understand the requirement of a written agreement if vacation pay is to be paid in any manner other than as a lump sum before their vacation. The act introduces "super indexing" for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits, providing increases above the annual inflation rate to support injured workers.

Further to these legislative changes, the government has announced plans for consultations on the use of non-disclosure agreements in settlements of workplace sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence cases, aiming to protect the rights of victims and survivors. Consultations are also planned to create a new, job-protected leave for critical illnesses, such as cancer, to match the 26-week duration of the federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

“These changes expand on the historic measures in the Working for Workers Acts, 2021, 2022 and 2023, which are helping millions of people in Ontario earn bigger paycheques and supporting newcomers in building the province,” Piccini concluded.

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