Right to Disconnect and Independent Contractors

Right to Disconnect and Independent Contractors

Right to Disconnect and Independent Contractors: Explained


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and employment, in general, has given rise to the realization that employees should be entitled to a right to disconnect Ontario from their work. 

The right to disconnect has been widely accepted as a necessary workplace policy. In one  Employment and Social Development Canada survey, the right to disconnect was supported by 93% of the respondents.

What is the right to disconnect?

Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, 2021, defines the Right to Disconnect as granting workers the right to not engage in work-related communications so that they are free from the performance of work outside of work hours. 

Bill 27 can be seen as a nod to the changing and fast-evolving standards of the workplace. Arguably one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic is the widespread adoption of the hybrid workplace. In Ontario adopting legislation that recognizes a need to ensure a right to disconnect Ontario from the now blurred line between the workplace and home, it is possible that other provinces follow suit. 

Employees, through their employment agreements, may be subject to a written policy stipulating the right to disconnect Ontario . However, this policy may be unilaterally drafted by the employer. 

Limitations regarding independent contractors

While the Ontario government aims to respond to such concerns with the passing of Bill 27, not all workers are entitled to this right. One group of workers that are excluded from the legislation are those working as independent contractors. With Ontario being the first province to legislate the right to disconnect, it is nonetheless important for all workers and employers to have an understanding of how this legislation may impact their workplace. 

However, the right currently applies only to workplaces that retain 25 employees or more at the beginning of a given year. This means that workers who are not employed but rather work as independent contractors are not entitled to the right to disconnect Ontario . 

The relationship between an independent contractor and a business is based upon a traditional business-to-business contractual agreement, whereas the right to disconnect policy only applies to employees. 

If you have questions or concerns about your status as an employee or an independent contractor, be sure to reach out to a qualified professional at Achkar Law or you can visit our blog post on independent and dependent contractors

Conclusion:

Independent contractors, who are excluded from the reach of Bill 27, can still benefit from a right to disconnect by trying to draft their own disconnect clause within their employment contracts. 

Contact Us:

Whether you are an employer or an employee needing assistance with reviewing or drafting an employment agreement or workplace policy, our team of experienced employment and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to assist.

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Disclaimer: The goal of this blog is only educational. It is to help you understand some of the common and general inquiries we receive. Please do not rely on this as legal advice because legal advice is tricky and dependent on specific situations. Make sure you consult with a lawyer before using this information. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected]