Bill 27 amends the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to require employers with 25 or more employees to implement a written policy on “disconnecting from work” in place by June 2, 2022. Although the legislation provides that the content of a disconnecting from work policy may be prescribed by regulation, no regulations have been announced and we understand that none are expected to be published prior to the June deadline.
That said, the Ministry of Labour recently updated its Guide to the Employment Standards Act (the Guide) to address this issue. Although the Guide is not legally binding, it does represent the Ministry of Labour’s policy approach to this issue, and it provides helpful information for those employers faced with drafting a disconnecting from work policy. The ESA does not create a “right” to disconnect from work. The ESA creates only the requirement to have a policy “with respect to disconnecting from work”.
Ultimately, the content of a disconnecting from work policy should be informed by an employer’s particular business needs and workplace culture. The policy may have different expectations for different categories of employees. Employers may wish to consider consulting with employees or the workplace health and safety committee to understand their perspectives on disconnecting from work. Unionized workplaces should consider consulting with their union(s), and that consultation may in fact be required under the terms of the collective agreement.
As part of the partnership with Norton Rose Fulbright, a sample template of disconnecting from work policy is available for download. While MaRS makes this document available for educational purposes, the template is yours to use at your own risk. Please see the disclaimer below.
For additional guidance on disconnecting from work policies, ventures are encouraged to reach out to and visit resources available here from Norton Rose Fulbright.
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