Right To Disconnect Ontario Explained

Right To Disconnect Ontario Explained

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to how we view the workplace, and with it, the demand for a more flexible work environment, where employees can work from anywhere. As the economy seeks revitalization in the wake of these changes, it becomes crucial to understand and implement the Right to Disconnect Ontario. This article provides an overview of the disconnect law, how it came into effect through Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, and who it affects. Employers and employees need to work together to strike the right balance between work and personal life, addressing issues like burnout and constant accessibility.

The Right to Disconnect: Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021

On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, incorporating recommendations from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee (OWRAC). This bill not only bans non-compete agreements but also requires certain employers to establish a Right to Disconnect policy all its employees.

Understanding the Right to Disconnect in Ontario

In an era where work often extends beyond traditional hours, Ontario’s right to disconnect legislation aims to protect employees’ personal time. Whether you’re an employee seeking to understand your rights or an employer looking to ensure compliance, it’s important to grasp the nuances of this policy. Achkar Law can help clarify these regulations and guide you through implementing or benefiting from the right to disconnect. Let’s ensure you’re well-informed and your workplace respects this evolving aspect of employment law.

Obligations of the Right to Disconnect Ontario

The Right to Disconnect policy introduces several obligations that employers must adhere to:

  • Declaring the date the policy was prepared and any subsequent updates.
  • Providing employees with a copy of the policy within 30 days of its preparation or any updates.
  • Ensuring new employees receive a copy within 30 days of their first day of employment.
  • Retaining each disconnecting from work policy for three years after it ceases to be in effect.

Presently, there are no specific requirements outlining what the policy should contain, allowing employers the flexibility to customize it to suit their industry and workforce.

Understanding the Right to Disconnect Ontario

The Right to Disconnect addresses the concerns of many employees, who experience work-related “burnout” due to constant accessibility. According to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, section 21.1.1, this policy allows employees to be free from work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video conferences, or other messages, outside of their regular working hours.

Who Is Affected by the Right to Disconnect Ontario?

The Right to Disconnect policy applies to employers with 25 or more employees. While working remotely from home provides flexibility, it also blurs the line between work and personal life, necessitating this policy to safeguard employees’ right to disconnect from work during personal time.

Deadline for Implementing the Right to Disconnect Ontario

Expanding employers reaching 25 employees or more on January 1 in any year after 2022 must have a written disconnecting-from-work policy in place by March 1. Similarly, growing companies with 25 or more employees have until June 2, 2022, to implement this same policy (Employment Standards Act, 2000, section 21.1.2 (5)).

Considerations for Employers

A clear written policy on the ideal right to disconnect law is yet to be provided. Therefore, employers should be attentive to potential regulations and amendments to ensure their policy complies with future requirements. Industries vary, requiring customized approaches to drafting and applying a written policy. Conducting workshops and training can help employees understand the policy better and its proper enforcement.

Considerations for Employees

As an employee, understanding your employer determines the right to disconnect expectations specific to your employment is essential. Familiarize yourself with your responsibilities, work hours, communication guidelines, and overtime provisions outlined in the policy. Seeking written clarification from your employer if there’s no formal employment agreement will help you navigate the policy more effectively.


The Right to Disconnect policy represents a crucial step towards achieving a healthy work-life balance in today’s dynamic work environment. By providing employees with the freedom to disconnect from work-related communications outside of their regular working hours, this policy aims to combat burnout and improve overall well-being. For employers, implementing the policy responsibly and in compliance with legal obligations is essential. Seeking guidance and support from an employment law firm can ensure the policy’s successful implementation, tailored to the specific needs of each workplace. By fostering a workplace culture that respects employees’ boundaries and prioritizes their well-being, organizations can create a more productive and harmonious work environment for all.

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