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Breaking Down Bill 149: Exploring Some Key Changes in Employment Laws

As Bill 149 progresses into its third reading, it’s crucial to understand the key issues the proposed legislation seeks to address.

Bill 149, also called the Working for Works Four Act, 2023, proposes changes to key employment legislation. These changes affect multiple pieces of legislation such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Employment Standards Act, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, and the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act.

The key changes are summarized below:

1) AI in Employee Hiring

Bill 149 proposes that employers who use artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the employee hiring process must disclose this practice in job postings. This transparency is meant to inform applicants about AI’s role in hiring. However, this won’t protect employees from unfair AI-based decisions or provide them with the right to challenge such decisions.

2) Public Job Postings

The Bill mandates that employers outline the expected compensation for a publicly advertised position. It also prohibits demands for Canadian work experience in most areas to reduce barriers for internationally trained immigrants.

3) Compensation During Trial Periods

Bill 149 amends the meaning of “training” under the definition of “employee” in the Employment Standards Act. “Trial period” would thus be included in the meaning of “training.” This ensures employees are paid during trial periods.

4) Prohibition of Theft-Related Deductions from Pay

Employers of restaurants, gas stations, and other specific businesses would be explicitly prohibited from deducting money from employee wages if a customer leaves without paying for the goods or services received.

5) Tip Policy Disclosures

In establishments where employees earn tips, employers must post their tip-sharing policy somewhere visible. Tip sharing policies will need to be retained for 3 years after they are no longer in effect. Prescribed methods of tip payment will also be introduced in the Employment Standards Act.

6) Enhanced WSIB Benefits

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits for injured workers will be adjusted to be above the annual inflation rate, ensuring adequate compensation. The Bill will also create a presumption that applies to certain jobs such as firefighters and fire investigators in regards to acknowledging the higher risk of esophageal cancer.

7) Digital Platform Workers

Bill 149 will amend the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, introducing new rules on pay periods and minimum wage compliance for digital platform workers.

8) Payment of Wages via Direct Deposit

Employers that pay employees their wages via direct deposit will be required to make sure that payment is being made to a bank account selected by the employee.


Although not part of Bill 149, the government plans on holding consultations on restricting NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) in cases of workplace harassment, misconduct, and/or violence. Further consultations are being considered in regards to establishing job-protected leave for critical illnesses, to closer align with federal employment insurance benefits.

Written by Nahal Golmohammadi and Nicolas Guevara-Mann