Embracing Change: Ontario’s Bill 149 Proposes Progressive Employment Reforms

Written by on November 27, 2023 in Employment Law Blog, Employment Law Issues


The Ontario Government’s introduction of Bill 149, titled the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, signals a forward-moving step in the province’s labour legislation.

This proposed bill, which follows the succession of Working for Workers Acts from previous years, promises to usher in a new era of transparency and fairness in the workplace.

Key Reforms on the Horizon

Pay Transparency

Bill 149 aims to demystify salary expectations by mandating employers to disclose compensation details in job advertisements. This approach to pay transparency is not just about clarity; it’s about equity, enabling potential employees to make informed decisions before they even apply.

AI in Recruitment

With technology’s deepening foray into hiring practices, the bill requires employers to openly state if artificial intelligence was utilized in the recruitment process. This disclosure is poised to add a layer of accountability to the AI systems that increasingly influence hiring outcomes.

Prohibiting “Canadian Experience” Requirements

In a bold move to foster inclusivity, Bill 149 prohibits the requirement of “Canadian experience” in job postings, a step towards dismantling barriers that internationally-trained immigrants often face.

Fair Tip Distribution

The bill also addresses the handling of tips in the service industry, obligating employers to publicly post their tip-sharing policies, thereby safeguarding the fair distribution of earnings among staff.

Clarifying Deductions

With clearer prohibitions against wage deductions for service shortfalls (like dine-and-dash incidents), Bill 149 strengthens the protection of workers’ earnings.

Beyond Bill 149: New Consultations

Parallel to Bill 149, the Ontario government is initiating consultations on restricting Non-Disclosure Agreements in workplace harassment cases and creating job-protected leave for critical illnesses. These discussions hint at a broader commitment to worker protection and well-being.

Preparing for the Wave of Change

While Bill 149 has only passed the first reading, employers should be vigilant, reviewing their practices in anticipation of the changes. It may be premature to revamp job postings, but awareness and preparation will be critical to a smooth transition.

Anticipated Guidance

Employers and legal practitioners alike are awaiting further details, such as:

  • The specifics of compensation disclosure requirements
  • Descriptions of AI’s role in recruitment processes
  • The timeline for new posting obligations
  • The interplay of Ontario’s rules with those of other provinces for nationwide recruitment
  • Possible exemptions or special cases

The Global Trend of Pay Transparency

Ontario’s legislative push towards pay transparency is reflective of a worldwide shift, a collective march towards greater openness about compensation. This global trend recognizes the power of information as a tool for equality.

Contact Minken Employment Lawyers Today

As we continue to track the progress of Bill 149, Minken Employment Lawyers remains committed to providing insights and support. For employers navigating these evolving legal landscapes, our team is here to help interpret and integrate these forthcoming changes. Please stay connected with us for updates and expert legal guidance; contact Minken Employment Lawyers at 905-477-7011 or email us at contact@minken.com.

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Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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