In 2024, the Ontario government is expected to table Bill 149: the Working for Workers Four Act. You can read more about the proposed act here – and we’ve selected some of the sections that foster progressive and sustainable workplace practices.

If enacted, Bill 149 would amend various workplace laws, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA). The bill aims to establish new requirements for employers in Ontario, focusing on pay transparency, job postings, wage protection in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, and enhanced workers’ compensation benefits.

Key Aspects Employers Should Be Aware Of:

  1. Enhanced Pay Transparency:
    • Bill 149 introduces mandatory pay transparency requirements for publicly advertised job postings, necessitating the disclosure of expected pay or pay range.
    • This initiative follows the unenforced Pay Transparency Act, 2018, and is part of a broader movement towards pay transparency across Canadian jurisdictions, as detailed in our March 2023 bulletin.
  2. New Job Posting Regulations:
    • The bill prohibits requirements for Canadian experience in job postings and application forms.
    • Employers using artificial intelligence for job application screening must disclose this in their job postings.
    • A retention requirement mandates keeping copies of all job postings and associated application forms for three years.
  3. Wage Protection for Restaurant and Hospitality Workers:
    • The bill aims to outlaw unpaid trial shifts by classifying them as training periods under the ESA.
    • It prohibits wage deductions in scenarios like “dine and dash” or “gas and dash,” although similar protections already exist under the ESA.
    • There are new regulations concerning tip pooling policies and payment methods.
  4. Support for Injured Workers:
    • Bill 149 proposes the introduction of “Super Indexing” for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits, potentially increasing payouts above inflation rates.
    • It seeks to enhance cancer coverage for firefighters and fire investigators, reducing the employment duration requirement for presumed compensation for esophageal cancer.

The Ontario government also plans to consult on a new job-protected leave to align with federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits, ensuring job security for employees undergoing medical treatments.

As advocates for responsible and equitable workplace practices, the Better Way Alliance views these developments as critical steps towards enhancing worker protection and fairness in Ontario’s employment landscape. We will continue to monitor these legislative changes and provide updates and guidance.