I am writing to you with a brief update on the recently tabled government bill, “Working for Workers Act” (Bill 27).
The omnibus bill includes a host of changes to different pieces of legislation. One of the provisions in schedule 2 of the bill that can potentially have an impact on some OCUFA members is the requirement for some employers to develop “disconnecting from work” policies under the Employment Standards Act. The term “disconnecting from work” is defined to mean not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.
There is very little information in the legislation on what these policies shall include and who they will apply to. The bill only mentions that all workplaces with more than 25 employees must develop a policy, and it is unclear whether the policy will apply to contract or part-time workers or those without set working hours.
As you know, our tenured and full-time members tend to not have set “regular working hours” and similarly most of our contract academics’ hiring contracts include a total number of hours and not a specific window of time during which work is performed. There might be implications, most likely, for some of our professional librarians and archivists depending on different collective agreement provisions.
We are currently consulting with sector partners and doing research to get a better sense of the potential impact of the legislation on OCUFA members.
We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. As mentioned, the language in the legislation itself is very vague around this provision and we anticipate the details to potentially come after the passing of legislation either in the form of regulations or ministerial directives.
Jenny J.H. Ahn
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
Office: 416-979-2117 Ext.229
17 Isabella Street
Toronto, ON Canada M4Y 1M7