Working for Workers Four Act – what you need to know about Bill 149

This new legislation has our team celebrating but are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Moms at Work asked the team at Hudson Sinclair to break down Bill 149 and why this is good news.

Summary of Bill 149

The recent legislative changes introduced by Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, impose new requirements for Ontario employers and provide additional protections for employees regarding hiring and employee pay practices in Ontario.

Effective immediately, the definition of “employee” under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has been amended to include the performance of work by an employee during a “trial period.” Consequently, unpaid trial shifts are now illegal under the ESA. Additionally, employers are prohibited from making deductions from an employee’s wages in the event a customer leaves without paying for goods or services at a restaurant, gas station, or other establishment.

At a later proclaimed date (currently unknown when), Bill 149 will impose new obligations on employers concerning publicly advertised job postings.

Employers will be required to adhere to specific guidelines when posting job opportunities, including:

  • Pay Transparency: Employers must disclose the range of expected compensation for the position.
  • Canadian Experience: Employers are prohibited from mandating that job applicants possess prior Canadian work experience in a public job posting or associated job application form.
  • Use of AI: Employers must disclose if they utilize artificial intelligence in the hiring process.

Effective June 21, 2024, Bill 149 also introduces several changes regarding tipping/gratuity practices and vacation pay:

  • Gratuities/Wages: Employers must pay any tip or gratuity to employees through cash, cheque, direct deposit, or any other prescribed method. If gratuities or wages are paid via direct deposit, employers must ensure that payment is made to a bank account selected by the employee and held in the employee’s name.
  • Tip Sharing: Employers with a policy regarding employer, director, or shareholder participation in tips or other gratuities must post a copy of the policy in at least one conspicuous place in the workplace.
  • Vacation Pay: Employers must have a written agreement with employees if they opt for an alternative arrangement to paying vacation pay as a lump sum before an employee commences vacation.

Employees should be aware of the above changes and their rights and entitlements under Bill 149. If you have any questions regarding Bill 149 or any other employment-related issues, please contact Hudson Sinclair LLP to speak with one of our lawyers.

Hudson Sinclair is a labour and employment law firm dedicated to providing best in class client service and achieving exceptional results.

As advocates they represent their clients in litigation before the Courts and administrative tribunals. They value the importance of early and productive resolution discussions when beneficial and appropriate.

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Deborah Hudson

Deborah Hudson is an experienced labour and employment lawyer based in Toronto, Canada who provides solutions-focused, timely, and highly specialized legal advice. She advises clients about matters occurring at all stages of the employment relationship, including: Reviewing/drafting employment contracts and termination packages, Drafting/ interpreting employment-related policies and procedures, Advising on accommodation and human rights matters, including maternity leave and parental leave rights. Moms at Work members receive a discounted, flat-rate fee for a 45-minute initial consultation.

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