Ontario’s Employee Monitoring Policy: What You Need To Know
- As of October 11, 2022, all employers in Ontario with 25 or more employees must have an electronic monitoring policy.
- Electronic monitoring can include surveillance devices, GPS tracking, and keylogging software.
- The electronic monitoring policy must state whether or not employees are being monitored.
- Employers who fail to post a policy or do not provide employees with their electronic monitoring rights are subject to fines.
As of October 11, 2022, all employers in Ontario with 25 or more employees must have an electronic monitoring policy.
Electronic monitoring is nothing new, but a new law was recently passed in Ontario. As of October 11, 2022, all employers in Ontario with 25 or more employees must notify their employees in writing if they will be subject to electronic monitoring.
According to the provincial government, employers must notify employees of how they will be electronically monitored and where – including the devices, they may use to collect information. This law does not just apply to employees who work from home – it applies to anyone in Ontario who is subject to electronic monitoring, no matter where they are located.
Here’s what you need to know about electronic monitoring in the workplace and how you can prepare for it.
What Is Electronic Monitoring?
Electronic monitoring is the use of technology to track employees’ working hours. This can include recording the time they start and end work and any breaks they take throughout the day.
Many employers are now using electronic monitoring to ensure that their employees adhere to employee attendance and overtime policies.
Transparency is critical when it comes to electronic monitoring. While the law does not prohibit employers from monitoring their employees’ activity online, it does require that they be upfront about their use of electronic monitoring tools.
What Must the Electronic Monitoring Policy Include?
The electronic monitoring policy must consist of the following:
- A statement that employees may be subject to electronic monitoring
- A description of the types of electronic monitoring that may be used
- Details about how electronic monitoring data will be used
- The date the policy was created
- The date any modifications to the policy were made
How Should Electronic Monitoring Policies Be Communicated?
- The written policy that outlines these details should be provided to all employees within 30 days of October 11, 2022.
- New employees should receive this policy within 30 days of starting their job.
- After modifications are made, employees should receive the updated copy within 30 days.
- Employees should receive the policy in paper or digital format, allowing them to print it out.
The policy can be a standalone document, or it can be included in an employee handbook. Regardless of how the policy is communicated, employees need to understand the policy and their rights regarding electronic monitoring in the workplace.
When Should the Electronic Monitoring Policy Be Instituted?
As mentioned, the electronic monitoring policy must be provided to employees within 30 days of October 11, 2022. Therefore, employers must provide employees with a written copy of the policy by November 10, 2022.
Starting in 2023, any employer with 25 or more employees at the beginning of each year must have an electronic monitoring policy by March 1 of that same year.
Which Employees Should Be Counted When Measuring the 25-Employee Threshold?
When employers are determining whether they need to communicate an electronic monitoring policy to employees, they must consider all employees working at a single location or facility, including the following:
- Employees who are working from home
- Probationary employees
- Employees on leave or extended absences
- Some trainees
- Contract workers
- Employees who are currently laid off and could return to the workplace
Employees partnering with temporary help agencies are employees of the agency. Therefore, temporary help agencies must legally communicate an electronic monitoring policy to their employees. This means employers who hire workers from temporary help agencies do not need to include these workers in the 25-employee threshold calculation.
How Do You Count Employees if There Are Multiple Locations?
If an employer has multiple locations, the total number of employees should be determined by adding all the employees working at a single location or facility.
For example, if an employer has three offices, each with 10 employees, the total number of employees for this particular employer would be 30. As long as this employer meets the 25-employee threshold, they must communicate the electronic monitoring policy to employees.
Overall, employers in Ontario must understand and follow the requirements around electronic monitoring in the workplace. By communicating an electronic monitoring policy to employees and ensuring they understand their rights, employers can help ensure a positive and productive work environment.
What Happens if an Employer Fails to Comply With the Requirements?
If an employer fails to communicate the electronic monitoring policy, they may be subject to fines and other legal penalties. The fine for the first contravention is $250, multiplied by the total number of employees affected by your failure to comply.
To avoid these fines and other legal issues, it is essential for employers to stay up-to-date on all workplace guidelines and requirements. With clear communication, transparency, and accountability, employers can create a positive work environment for employees and help their businesses run smoothly.
The digital age has changed the way we do things, both at work and at home. For example, more workplaces are turning to electronic tracking of their employees’ activities. Electronic monitoring of employees can benefit both the employer and employee, but only if both parties are aware of their rights and obligations.
Electronic monitoring can serve several purposes, including ensuring that employees complete their work on time, tracking productivity levels, and improving safety in the workplace. However, there are also some important legal considerations to be aware of when it comes to electronic monitoring. While employees will be limited on complaints, employers may want to seek legal counsel if they are unsure whether the electronic monitoring policy could create any entitlements outside of the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
As the days and weeks go by, electronic monitoring will continue to play an important role in the workplace, so it is essential for employers and employees alike to stay informed and comply with all workplace guidelines and requirements.