Ontario to mandate disclosure of employee electronic surveillance

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO – Ontario is planning to require employers to tell their workers if they are being electronically monitored.

The government is set to introduce a new piece of labour legislation this month that will include the proposed policy.

It would require businesses to tell their employees – whether they are in the workplace, in the field or working from home – how the company monitors computers, cellphones, GPS systems and other electronic devices.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says that especially since so many people have been working from home, employees expect and deserve to have their privacy protected.

The law would apply to businesses with 25 or more workers and would require them to have a written policy on whether they electronically monitor their staff, and if so how, and the purpose of collecting the information.

McNaughton says it will be the first such legislation in Canada.

McNaughton has been making a concerted effort to position the Progressive Conservative government as worker friendly, with legislation last year that increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour, required employers to create right-to-disconnect policies for their employees, banned non-compete agreements and required temporary help agencies to be licensed.

“I became the Minister of Labour back in June of 2019 and intentionally picked a side and that’s the side of workers,” he said.

“I also believe that government has to keep up and often we see not only in Ontario, but around the country and even across North America, where government tends to lag (in) technological changes and the world of work.”