The Ontario government is proposing a new rule that will require employers to inform employees if and how they are being electronically monitored.
Companies with 25 or more employees in Ontario would be required to have a written contract in place that explains how company computers, cell phones, GPS systems, and other electronic devices are tracked under the new rule.
Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, told CTV News Toronto, “We’ll be the first in Canada to do this.” “This is yet another step toward rebalancing the scales and putting employees in control.”
According to the government, the contract will need to contain information on whether an employer electronically monitors its workers, and if so, a description of how and when the employer does this.
If employers are electronically tracking their workers, they will also have to disclose the purpose of collecting that information.
The legislation will be introduced in the coming days, the government said. Once passed, employers will be given six months to develop a policy that informs their workers about electronic tracking.
It will apply to employees working in the workplace, in the field or at home, the government said.
McNaughton said he’s certain that some workers in Ontario are currently being monitored electronically without their knowledge.
“I think about those moms and dads that were taking Zoom calls from their bedrooms, or their kids’ bedrooms, and they weren’t being told if they were recorded,” McNaughton said. “I remember hearing during the pandemic that workers had their washroom breaks and their lunch breaks in a warehouse tracked through electronics, and it wasn’t to their knowledge. They had no idea that it was being done. To me, that is wrong.”
The government said it will provide guidelines and tips to businesses over the next six months to help them develop their tracking policies.
“I know this is going to be new for many businesses across the province,” McNaughton said. “But personal privacy is paramount to all people in Ontario.”