Ontario Government Plans To Protect Remote Workers From Mass Layoffs & Here's What It Means

Working from home might get a lot more secure.

Queen's Park building in Toronto.
Associate Editor

Queen's Park building in Toronto.

The Ontario government has proposed a plan to protect employees who work from home from mass company layoffs.

On Monday, the government stated in a press release that they are responding to remote employees and the changing economy by "proposing updates to employment laws."

This means that, under the proposed changes, remote workers will be eligible for "the same enhanced notice as 'in-office' and other employees in mass terminations situations."

If passed, people who solely work from home will have to receive an eight-week notice of termination or pay-in-lieu to prevent "companies from taking advantage of them," they explained.

"Whether you commute to work every day or not shouldn't determine what you are owed. No billion-dollar company should be treating their remote employees as second-class," the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, said.

The government shared that around 2.2 million people worked from home during the pandemic. Moreover, approximately 1.4 million people are still doing so, and around 800,000 have implemented a hybrid model.

The proposed change applies to companies looking to lay off 50 or more employees within a four-week period and the notice days differ depending on how many employees are terminated.

Additionally, the government stated that right now, under Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA), employers only have to share the latest version of the standards poster with all new employees. However, they plan to add more to this to "protect precarious employees."

"The government is also proposing regulatory changes that would require employers to provide new hires with information in writing about their job, such as pay, work location and hours of work, and the date by which that information needs to be provided," they said.

Mira Nabulsi
Associate Editor
Mira Nabulsi is an Associate Food & Drink Editor for Narcity Media focused on all your favourite eats and is based in Toronto, Ontario.