In Ontario, seven workplace policies are required for most employers.
While most employers are lawfully required to have these seven HR policies, they can create them themselves. There is no need to get a lawyer or other third-party HR consultant to create them. However, a good lawyer or another HR expert can help guide your business in the creation, implementation, and execution of these policies.
At long last, here are the seven HR policies most employers in Ontario must have:
Required Occupational Health and Safety Act Policies
Up first, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires Ontario employers with six or more employees to implement and follow these three required workplace policies:
- Health and safety policy
- Workplace violence prevention policy
- Workplace harassment prevention policy
1. Health and safety policy
An employer must prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy. In addition, employers must post this occupational health and safety policy in a conspicuous location in the workplace.
During Covid-19, Ontario also required all employers to create a covid safety plan. A copy of the covid safety plan must have been made available to any person for review upon request and be posted where it would come to workers' attention. It remains to be seen whether these required policies/plans will be in force after Covid-19 is over.
2. Workplace violence prevention policy
Every employer in Ontario must prepare and review, at least annually, a policy on workplace violence. This policy is required regardless of the size of the workplace. However, there are six or more employees. In that case, this workplace violence prevention policy must be in writing and posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace (if fewer than six workers are employed, the policy does not necessarily have to be written).
3. Workplace harassment prevention policy
Every employer in Ontario must prepare and review, at least annually, a policy on workplace harassment. This policy is required regardless of the number of workers. However, if there are six or more employees, the workplace harassment prevention policy must be in writing and posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace (if fewer than six workers are employed, the policy does not necessarily have to be written).
4. Required Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Policies
Visit any website owned by an Ontario business, and you will likely see an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) notice somewhere. These are customer-facing requirements for business as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Like these customer-facing policies, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act also requires' employer' policies. To that end, employers with more than 50 employees must make accessibility plans that outline the steps the employer will follow to prevent or remove barriers for disabled workers. These accessibility policies must be in writing and available to the public in accessible formats upon request.
5. Required Pay Equity Act Policies
Employers with 100 or more employees must prepare and post a pay equity policy that outlines their plans to achieve pay equity in their workplace. Read more about this relatively complicated policy here.
6. Required Policy on Electronic Monitoring of Employees
Employers that employ 25 or more employees must have a written policy on the electronic monitoring of employees (i.e. tracking).
The policy must state whether or not the employer electronically monitors employees. If the employer does, the policy must include: https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/written-policy-electronic-monitoring-employees
- a description of how and in what circumstances the employer may electronically monitor employees
- the purposes for which the information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used by the employer
- the date the policy was prepared (the date must include the day, month and year)
- the date any changes were made to the policy
7. Required Policy on Disconnecting From Work
Employers that employ 25 or more employees are required to have a written policy on disconnecting from work. This is NOT a requirement that employees give employees the right to disconnect from work and be free from the obligation to engage in work-related outside of regular work hours. Instead, it's simply a requirement that employers have a policy about disconnecting from work.
Other HR Policies in Ontario
These policies discussed above are the only lawfully required policies a workplace in Ontario must have. However, in my next post, I will discuss several other "good to have" policies that workplaces should consider having, perhaps including:
- Code of conduct
- Use of technology
- Use of social media
- Privacy in the workplace
- Attendance and tardiness
- Emergency Preparedness
Mondaq has a great article too on this topic. Check it out.