AMAPCEO: enhance effectiveness, enforceability, and scope of new ‘right to disconnect’ bill
Publish date: Wednesday, November 24, 2021 update
Last month, the provincial government introduced Bill 27, which proposes changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that would require employers with more than 25 employees to establish a written policy on disconnecting from work.
As the champion of its members’ rights and an advocate for better working conditions for all workers, AMAPCEO welcomes the introduction of a ‘right to disconnect’ in Ontario. However, the union notes that the legislation as currently written places the responsibility for detailing and enforcing this policy with individual employers.
To ensure the effectiveness and enforceability of the right to disconnect, AMAPCEO believes that specific minimum standards for this right must be established in the Employment Standards Act, just as they are for vacation, wages, and terminations.
In a submission on Bill 27 to Standing Committee on Social Policy, AMAPCEO recommends that the right to disconnect legislation establish detailed minimum standards and that they are enshrined in the ESA, specifically:
- clearly stated normal working hours;
- a clear direction that employees are not required to reply to emails, texts, etc. outside of these hours;
- an expectation that managers do not contact employees outside of normal working hours;
- a ban on reprisals for employees adhering to the policy; and
- on-call pay for staff who are asked to monitor emails after normal working hours.
In its submission, AMAPCEO also points out that due to the exclusion of Crown employees from several provisions of the ESA, the right to disconnect legislation may not apply to over 60,000 employees working for the provincial public service and related arms-length agencies, many of whom are AMAPCEO members.
AMAPCEO members are creative, hardworking professionals passionate about serving the public interest. They deserve the same rights and protections extended to all Ontario workers.
Therefore, the union once again reiterates its position that ESA should be amended so that all elements of the legislation—including the proposed right to disconnect—apply to public servants and those in the broader public sector.
AMAPCEO urges the government to consider these recommendations seriously and act to ensure effective, enforceable, and broadly applicable legislation to protect Ontario workers’ right to disconnect.
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).