Employees now have right to disconnect

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The Canadian Press

Ontario’s right to disconnect policy came into effect June 2. Here’s what it means:

Late last year, the province enacted Bill 27: Working for Workers Act, 2021, that requires employers with 25 or more people on staff as of Jan. 1, 2022 to have a policy as of Thursday that outlines how they will ensure workers are able to disconnect from the workplace after hours.

The Act defines disconnecting from work as “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be free from the performance of work.”

Employers must provide staff with a written copy of the policy and it applies to all employees, including management and executives.

Starting in next year, employers with 25 workers or more will need to have a written policy on disconnecting from work in place before March 1 of that year.

For employers with multiple locations, all workers across locations must be included in the count.

The new rules were inspired by a 2016 law giving workers in France the right to turn off electronic work devices outside of business hours, Canada’s federal government started reviewing labour standards and mulling whether to give workers the right to ignore work-related messages when at home in 2018.

A committee convened last October was expected to analyze the issue and provide then-labour minister Filomena Tassi with recommendations in the spring.

But the province opted not to wait for federal regulations.

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