What Ontario workplace electronic monitoring rules mean


New laws requiring employers in Ontario to reveal electronic monitoring within the workplace will improve transparency however doesn’t present staff with any new privateness proper, employment attorneys say.

The Ontario authorities handed laws in April requiring employers with 25 or extra staff to have an electronic monitoring coverage.

This may cowl whether or not an employer is monitoring an worker’s computer systems, cellphones or GPS and the extent to which it’s occurring.

The disclosure requirement got here into impact on Tuesday and employers now have 30 days to offer staff with a written copy of the coverage.

However, Mackenzie Irwin, a Toronto-based employment lawyer with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, advised CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday that one of many fundamental criticisms of the laws is that it doesn’t present staff with any new rights at work.

Rather, it requires employers to be upfront and clear with their workforce about what they’re really monitoring.

“In phrases of the place that line is drawn, it is actually not clear right now,” Irwin mentioned.

Employees could be unable to problem any monitoring beneath the laws.

Irwin mentioned employers are allowed to observe their staff so long as it’s for a “respectable enterprise objective” and is as “minimally invasive as doable.”

Despite this, she mentioned there might be loads of pushback from staff as soon as they study the extent to which this monitoring is going on.

“It’s going to be a really attention-grabbing time in Ontario in November to see what monitoring is definitely occurring,” she mentioned.

The laws comes as distant work grew to become far more widespread throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec have privateness laws that units some limits on the power of private-sector organizations to gather worker info.

Speaking to The Canadian Press, Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton described the coverage as a “first step” and the primary of its sort in Canada.

“This will give the federal government a clearer image of what employers are doing,” McNaughton mentioned Tuesday.

“I feel it is protected to say that there is going to be extra to return within the close to future in terms of protections and creating extra alternatives for staff.”

Sundeep Gokhale, an employment and labour lawyer with Sherrard Kuzz LLP in Toronto, advised CTV News Channel on Tuesday that staff have possible assumed their employer is monitoring them.

“At the center of it, it is actually about holding employers sincere and clear and creating that open line of communication between an employer and its staff,” he mentioned.

The problem for some employers, Gokhale mentioned, might be the shortage of a definition in Ontario’s Employment Standards Act for electronic monitoring.

In the top, it could come down as to whether an employer is storing, and has entry to, electronic info from its staff and whether or not it’s systemically reviewing that knowledge.

“So should you’re an employer and also you month-to-month get a report on keystrokes or web sites visited, regardless of the nature could also be, then sure you are going to need to disclose that,” Gokhale mentioned.

“But merely simply storing emails and never having a systemic assessment or one thing of that nature will not set off electronic monitoring.”

With recordsdata from The Canadian Press 


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