6 New Ontario Laws & Regulations That Are Going To Be A Big Deal In 2022

Some major changes are coming!

Toronto Associate Editor
6 New Ontario Laws & Regulations That Are Going To Be A Big Deal In 2022

Over the last few months, the Ontario government has passed a number of new laws and regulations that are bound to shake things up for everyone, from workers to businesses and residents across the province.

From being able to ignore your work-related responsibilities after hours to a significant pay increase for minimum wage workers, here are six different laws, rules, or extensions that are officially set to happen in Ontario next year.

Minimum wage rates are going up in the new year

Who doesn't love getting a raise? Back on November 2, the Ford government announced that it would propose legislation that would boost Ontario's minimum wage rates up to $15 an hour.

In an announcement posted on December 9, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy confirmed that the Ontario government will indeed increase those wage rates come the new year, starting January 1, 2022.

"We want our province's workers to be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom," Bethlenfalvy said.

In total, full-time minimum wage workers will see raise of $1,350 for the year (though, even with the increase, that salary doesn't even come close to covering the cost of rent for an average one-bedroom apartment in Toronto for a month right now).

Liquor servers would also get an hourly pay increase, going from $12.55 an hour to $15, too.

The right to disconnect policy will kick in

If you're tired of getting phone calls, texts, or emails from your boss after you've clocked off for the day, you might soon be able to ignore them.

Back on November 30, Ontario announced it passed the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which mandates businesses of 25 employees or more to have a written policy for disconnecting from work at the end of the day. That's right, the new law makes it illegal for your boss to bug you after-hours.

This policy could include not replying to or sending off any work emails, answering any phone or video call, or really any work-related message after you've already signed off or clocked out.

Pandemic layoffs will get extended, again

On December 7, the Ontario government announced it would give employers even more time to figure out what they're going to do about the employees they laid off temporarily during the pandemic.

The temporary changes to the Employment Standards Act that "prevent temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from being unwanted terminations" have been extended until July 30, 2022 — according to a press release. The original date was supposed to be January 2, 2022, which would've meant that employers had a set time from that date to either bring employees back or pay their severance, as the "constructive dismissal" rules were supposed to resume.

Ontario announced the initial changes back in July 2020 and said that "terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length" can result in "costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure."

The initial announcement said laid off "workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs," however many of the COVID-19 benefits provided to workers have ended and Employment Insurance only lasts up to a maximum of 45 weeks, according to the Government of Canada.

Non-compete agreements will be scrapped

The Working for Workers Act will also bar businesses from using non-compete clauses in their contracts.

"To help workers advance their careers and earn more, we are banning businesses from using non-compete agreements," Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton said in a statement.

According to the Act, employers can no longer stop their employees from taking on any other work that is in direct competition with their business after the employee has left.

Delivery workers can actually use the washroom on the job

The Ontario government announced another notable change in the Working for Workers Act and granted food delivery workers and truck drivers the right to use the washroom at the places that they work with.

This means they can finally use company bathrooms while they're delivering goods or picking items up. They won't, however, be entitled to use washrooms at private residences.

Canadian experience requirement will be removed

Finally, the Working for Workers Act is working to make things easier for internationally trained individuals to practice in the professions that they trained in abroad.

Under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006, a section was added that detailed how the minister can help them land those jobs in Ontario "and providing that the Minister may make related grants."

In the act, these grants can include giving the right information and helping out internationally trained candidates when they are applying or considering applying to a job position.

Ontario's staycation tax credit could be a thing

In addition to those six changes, the Ontario government has also proposed a brand new (and unfortunately temporary) staycation tax credit that could come into effect for your 2022 taxes.

In the provincial government's economic statement for 2021, officials detailed that this personal income tax credit would offer Ontarians 20% of eligible accommodations of up to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families. This would give a maximum credit back of $200 for individual Ontarians and $400 for families.

If passed, this refundable credit can be used towards several accommodations from hotels to campgrounds so long as it's located within the province. According to the government, it can work toward a stay of less than a month throughout 2022 and if it was booked for leisure-related purposes.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor