Several significant changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act come into effect on June 21st, 2024.  In an effort to ensure that our members are up to date on the employment regulations that affect their business, the Huron Chamber of Commerce offers this summary of the changes, as provided to us by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

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Definition of employee
As of March 21, 2024, the definition of employee includes a person who performs work during a trial period for an employer, if the skills being assessed during the trial period are skills used by the employer’s employees or could be used by employees if there are no other employees.

For more information, please visit the Employee status chapter at Ontario.ca/ESAguide.

Deductions from wages
As of March 21, 2024, the ESA has been amended to add for greater certainty a provision to clarify that an employer cannot make a deduction from an employee’s wages where a customer of a restaurant, gas station or other establishment leaves without paying. This confirms that employers are prohibited from deducting wages in “dine and dash”, “gas and dash” and other similar situations.

Payment of wages – direct deposit
Effective June 21, 2024, an additional requirement will be in place if the employer pays wages by direct deposit: the account must be selected by the employee. This means the employee must decide which account to use and the employer cannot restrict an employee’s selection by, for example, requiring the employee to use an account at a particular financial institution.

Where the employer had previously required an employee to receive wages to an account at a particular financial institution or otherwise restricted an employee’s selection, it is the employer’s responsibility to confirm the employee’s selection of their desired account before the first payment is made after June 20, 2024. An employee has the right to freely select a different account.

For more information, please visit the Payment of wages chapter at Ontario.ca/ESAguide.

Vacation pay agreements
Effective June 21, 2024the ESA is amended to clarify that the employee must make an agreement with the employer in order for the employer to be able to pay vacation pay on every pay cheque or at an agreed-upon time. This confirms that such agreements cannot be verbal and must be made in writing (including electronically), consistent with how the ministry enforces the ESA.

Tips or other gratuities – methods of payment
Effective June 21, 2024, employers will be required to pay tips or other gratuities by:

  • cash
  • cheque
  • direct deposit

If payment is by cash or cheque, the employee must be paid the tips or other gratuities at the workplace or at some other place agreed to in writing (including electronically) by the employee.

If payment is made by direct deposit, the account must be selected by the employee and be in the employee’s name. Nobody other than the employee can have access to the account, unless the employee has authorized it.

The requirement that the employee select the account means the employee must decide which account to use, and the employer cannot restrict an employee’s selection by, for example, requiring the employee to use an account at a particular financial institution.

Where the employer had previously required an employee to receive tips or other gratuities to an account at a particular financial institution or otherwise restricted an employee’s selection, it is the employer’s responsibility to confirm the employee’s selection of their desired account before the first payment is made after June 20, 2024. An employee has the right to select a different account.

Tips sharing policy
Effective June 21, 2024, where an employer has a policy about the employer, director or shareholder of the employer sharing in a tip pool, the employer will be required to post a copy of that policy in a clearly visible place in the workplace where it is likely to come to the attention of employees.

This requirement does not require an employer to establish a policy. It applies if an employer has a written policy in place or if an employer has an established practice of sharing in a tip pool that is applied consistently (even if it’s not written down). If the employer has an unwritten but established, consistently-applied practice in place, the employer must put the policy in writing and post a copy of the policy.

The ESA does not specify the information that must appear in the policy, as long as the posted document is a true copy of the policy that is in place and clearly states that the employer or a director or shareholder of the employer shares in the tip pool.

Effective, June 21, 2024, employers will also be required to keep a copy of every tips sharing policy that is required to be posted for three years after the policy stops being in effect.

For more information, please visit the Tips or other gratuities chapter at Ontario.ca/ESAguide.

Job posting requirements
On a date to be set by the Lieutenant Governor, amendments that establish new requirements for employers related to publicly advertised job postings will come into force.

If you need help understanding your responsibilities and rights under the ESA,

  • Call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551 or TTY (for hearing impaired) at 1-866-567-8893. Information is available in many languages.