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Understanding Bill 149: Amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act

Understanding Bill 149: Amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act

Understanding Bill 149: Amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act

The Working for Workers Four Act, 2024 (“Bill 149”) received royal assent and was passed into law on March 21, 2024. Bill 149 changes some key elements of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, as amended (“ESA”) for eligible employers. 

Some of the key amendments to the ESA took effect on March 21, 2024, some will take effect on June 21, 2024, and the remainder will be implemented at a future, unknown date.  

Effective March 21, 2024 

  • Amendment Regarding Deduction Protection: Employers are not permitted to withhold or deduct from an employee’s wages when a customer of a restaurant, gas station or other establishment leaves the establishment without paying for the goods or services taken from, consumed at, or received at the establishment. 
  • Amendment Regarding Trial Periods: Individuals performing work during a trial period for the purpose of training fall under the definition of “employee” under the ESA and accordingly, are entitled to compensation for any trial periods. 


Effective June 21, 2024 

  • Amendment Regarding Tips: Employers are required to pay tips or gratuities to employees in one of the following prescribed methods: cash, cheque payable only to the employee, direct deposit, or any other prescribed method of payment. If payment is made by cash or cheque, the employer must ensure that the payment is given to the employee at the workplace, or another place agreed to by the employee.  If payment is made by direct deposit, the employer can deposit tips into a bank account only if specific conditions are met: the account must be chosen by the employee, be in the employee’s name, and be accessible only to the employee or an authorized person. 
  • Amendment Regarding Tips: Employers with policies on tip-sharing will be required to post them in a conspicuous location at the workplace. 
  • Amendment Regarding Vacation Pay: Employers are required to clarify their vacation pay policy to ensure employees are aware that a written agreement is required if vacation pay is paid using any method other than a lump sum before the vacation begins.However, there is an exception. Employers that pay via direct deposit and pay employees their vacation pay on or before the pay day for the period in which the vacation falls do not require a written agreement. This was not specified in our April newsletter or June blog on Bill 149, and we are issuing an update to correct this oversight. This update in Bill 149 revolves around two specific situations: companies that pay out vacation with every pay cheque and companies that pay vacation at a specific time of the year (e.g., twice per year). Bill 149 clarifies that these methods require a written agreement.


Effective at a Future Date (To be Determined) 

  • Salary Ranges: Employers are required to disclose expected salary ranges in publicly advertised job postings. 
  • Use of AI: Employers are required to disclose if artificial intelligence (AI) is used during the hiring process in screening, assessing, or selecting applicants. 
  • Keeping Job Postings: Employers must retain copies of every publicly advertised job posting for three years after the posting is taken down. 
  • Prohibiting Canadian Experience: Banning the use of Canadian experience as a requirement in job postings, or application forms. 


For details on each update the Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, provides, click here. If you have any questions about these upcoming legislative changes, please reach out to [email protected] 

This blog was written by Dahlia Shabsove, HR Advisor for MaxPeople.
For more information about fractional HR services, email [email protected] or call 1.888.709.1236


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