Ontario's Working for Workers' Act 2024 given royal assent

Law covers cancer coverage, Canadian work experience, wage protections and WSIB benefits

Ontario's Working for Workers' Act 2024 given royal assent

Ontario’s Bill 149 or the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, has 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,” says David Piccini, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “With our fourth Working for Workers Act, we continue to lead the country in ground-breaking protections for workers.”

The legislation includes several changes, such as improving cancer coverage for firefighters and fire investigators by lowering the employment period needed to receive compensation when diagnosed with esophageal cancer from 25 to 15 years.

Bill 149 also bans the use of Canadian experience as a requirement in job postings or application forms. Ontario is the first province in Canada to make this a law, and this will enable qualified workers to fill highly in-demand jobs, especially in health care.

“This change would help more qualified candidates progress in the interview process and follows historic legislation to prohibit regulated professions from requiring discriminatory Canadian work experience requirements in licensing for more than 30 occupations, which came into effect December 2023,” says Piccini.

Previously, one expert told Canadian HR Reporter that the move on eliminating the Canadian work experience requirement is a positive way forward.

Wage protections, vacation pay provisions, WSIB benefits

Ontario’s Working for Workers Four Act, 2024 also:

  • Strengthens wage protections for restaurant, hospitality and service workers by clarifying that employers can never deduct an employee’s wages in the event of a dine and dash, gas and dash or any other stolen property and providing that trial shifts are paid.
  • Making it easier for international students in Ontario to qualify for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
  • Helping workers make informed decisions in their career search by requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings and if artificial intelligence (AI) is used during the hiring process.
  • Improving oversight and accountability of how regulated professions use third-party organizations to assess international qualifications to ensure it is done transparently and fairly.
  • Clarifying vacation pay provisions to ensure employees are aware that their written agreement is required if vacation pay is paid in any way other than a lump sum before their vacation.
  • Supporting injured workers by enabling additional “super indexing” increases to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits above the annual rate of inflation.

The “super indexing” increase to WSIB benefits greater than the yearly inflation rate will provide as much as $900 more per year for workers earning $70,000 annually for a 2% increase higher than the 6.5% rate of cost-of-living adjustment in 2023, according to government numbers, according to a previous report.

Bill 149 welcomed by supporters

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers welcomed the new rules introduced by Ontario under Bill 149.

“We thank our firefighters for their service, and we also thank the Ontario government for recognizing the need to improve the presumed compensation for firefighters battling cancer. When it comes to the unfortunate reality of firefighters that are facing cancer from their efforts to protect us… we simply cannot allow them to be forgotten or left behind in their time of peril,” says Jonathan White, international representative - CSO,

UNITE HERE! Local 75 also praised the measures to bring greater protection and transparency for workers and immigrant job seekers.

“These practical changes to the Act hold employers in the hospitality industry accountable to create a safer and healthier workplace environment,” said Guled Warsame, president.

Sara Asalya, executive director of Newcomer Women's Services Toronto, also said the amendments in Bill 149 will improve labour market outcomes for newcomers.

“We know that Canadian experience continues to be one of the most prominent barriers faced by many newcomers in their search for meaningful employment. Introducing legislation to ban the Canadian experience requirements from job postings and ads is a big leap forward in the right direction to eliminate systemic barriers facing newcomers and to facilitate pathways to their labour market inclusion.”

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