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Proposed Changes Could Affect Dentist Employers in Ontario

By November 23, 2023December 6th, 2023Employment Law

The Ontario government recently tabled the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, which is making its way through rounds of legislative debate. Currently at the second reading stage, this proposed legislation contains incremental refinements to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA). As most dental offices in Ontario employ workers governed under the ESA, we have summarized the more relevant updates which could potentially impact the dental industry for you.

Information Required To Be Posted In Job Ads

To add another disclosure element to recruitment and hiring procedures, the ESA may be getting a new ‘Part III.1’, which sets out mandatory requirements related to publicly advertised job postings as would be defined in the ESA’s regulations. In short, every employer who puts out a publicly advertised job posting may then be required to:

  • Include the expected wage/salary for that role or at least a range of expected compensation.
  • Exclude any references related to “Canadian experience” as a pre-requisite.
  • Include a statement, if applicable, disclosing the use of artificial intelligence (e.g., screening software or generative AI) at any stage in the screening/assessment/selection of applicants.

People Working on a Trial Period & Probationary Hires

The legislation would also add some new language to the definition of “employee” under the ESA to encompass trial-period employees. For dentists used to hiring workers conditionally based on trial periods (e.g., working interviews, probationary periods lasting longer than three (3) months), it is essential to note that such workers on trial periods will be expressly included under the “employee” umbrella so that certain minimum standards in the ESA (such as overtime pay, hours of work restrictions, and minimum wage) will apply notwithstanding their ‘trial’ or probationary status.

What This Means For You

Bill 149 is still being discussed and refined, so the final result may be that more changes or amendments are added/removed by the time the bill is passed. That said, as dentists everywhere get busier and we head towards the year’s end, you may want to start preparing early and reviewing your hiring protocols and materials to ensure you are well-positioned for future changes. There is currently no confirmed coming-into-force date for Bill 149. Still, the added disclosures and changes (especially regarding pay scale info, but potentially also regarding AI use for tech-savvy and early adopter dentists) may pose significant considerations for employers.

If you are unsure of how the pending legislative updates may impact your practice, please send DMC an email or give us a call. We are always happy to help and offer more information on these and other employment law developments.

For the latest announcements in provincial and federal policies, check out our Employment Law Changes & Updates page or subscribe to our Employment Updates Alert email list.

The Content of this post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal, financial, tax, or other professional advice of any kind. You are advised to contact DMC (or other counsel) to seek specific legal advice concerning your individual situation.
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