Proposed new legislation, Digital Platform Workers' Rights Act, 2022
Bill or Act:
The Digital Platform Workers' Rights Act, 2022
Summary of Proposal:
The government is proposing new legislation that would, if passed, provide certain rights and protections for digital platform workers who provide ride-share, delivery, or courier services for payment and are offered work assignments by an operator through the use of digital platforms. (Other types of digital platform services could be added by regulation.)
The purpose of the proposed new legislation would be to establish certain worker rights that would apply to all digital platform workers (as defined), regardless of the worker's employment status. The proposed new legislation, if passed, would not affect or change whether those workers are covered (or not) by other work-related statutes.
Key Worker Rights in the Proposed New Legislation (if passed):
o Information: Operators would be required to provide key information to workers, including factors used to offer assignments; performance rating; method of calculating pay; estimated pay for each assignment.
o Pay period and pay days: Operators would have to establish a recurring pay period and recurring pay day, and pay all amounts earned and tips/gratuities collected during each pay period by the pay day for that period.
o Minimum wage: Operators would have to pay workers at least the general minimum wage set out in the ESA for each work assignment.
o Deductions: Operators would be prohibited from withholding or making deductions from an amount earned by a worker or a worker's tips/gratuities unless authorized by another Act or a court order.
o Notice of removal from the platform: Operators would be required to provide a written explanation if a worker's access to the platform is removed. Operators would be required to provide two weeks' notice of any suspension of 24 hours or longer (unless worker is guilty of wilful misconduct).
o Reprisal protection: Operators (and persons acting on their behalf) would be prohibited from intimidating or penalizing a worker, or threatening to do so, for taking action under the Act.
o Dispute resolution: All digital platform work-related disputes between an operator and worker would have be resolved in Ontario.
o No contracting out: An operator and worker would be prohibited from contracting out or waiving a worker right. Any such contracting out or waiver would be void. An exception would exist where a contract provides the worker with a greater benefit than the worker right.
If the proposed new legislation is passed, it would come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.
The pandemic revealed the precarious working conditions (e.g., low income, lack of transparency) experienced by digital platform workers who work in non-standard working relationships with digital platform operators. These workers have little bargaining power and control over their work. They do not fix their own prices and are highly managed by platform algorithms that impact work allocation, working conditions, and compensation.
The proposed new legislation presents an opportunity to better protect certain digital platform workers in non-standard working relationships by requiring a minimum floor of rights and the terms of their engagement to be established.
If passed, Ontario would be the first jurisdiction in Canada to introduce specific rights and protections for digital platform workers.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed new legislation, if passed, would add costs for digital platform companies that operate in Ontario. There would be administrative, upfront operational and ongoing operational costs for digital platform operators (as defined).
The Ministry estimates that digital platform operators would incur a number of costs for coming into compliance with the proposed new legislation, for example: learning about the legislation; updating processes, protocols, and compensation structures; and making changes to the digital platform to comply with notification and transparency requirements. The extent and nature of new costs may vary depending on existing operational practices and arrangements between individual operators and workers.
Digital platform workers would benefit from more financial security, transparency over pay, and ability to have disputes resolved in Ontario. There are no anticipated costs for digital platform workers.
The Ministry does not have access to data to quantify costs and benefits. There is limited public data available regarding the number of digital platform operators and workers in Ontario.
The Ministry is seeking input and feedback from the public with respect to data points that can help to estimate costs and benefits associated with this proposal.
February 28, 2022
Comments Due Date:
March 30, 2022
Employment, Labour, and Corporate Policy Branch
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
400 University Avenue, 15th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7