right to disconnect

Canada is considering new laws to protect people who work from home

Working from home, once a rare luxury for office employees, is now burning people out and leading to breakdowns, moreso for Canadians than for others.

With no office to physically leave at the end of the day and the lines defining "work time" and "home time" becoming blurred, many are investing multiple hours more per day into their jobs for the same salary, unable to properly disconnect when being at work simply means having access to a phone or computer, no matter where or when.

More than a year into the pandemic, activists and governments around the globe, including here at home, are wondering why labour rights don't adequately reflect this new normal, and why workers don't have legal provisions to "disconnect."

The federal government is now asking for input from the public about potential labour rights and protections for those of us putting in long hours from home offices (and couches, and beds) and becoming unbearably digitally fatigued and isolated in the process.

The advent of such rules could "ensure workers have a positive work-life balance and well-being" and help to "establish clear expectations about the use of workplace communications devices, like cellphones, after the workday is done," Ottawa states in a new call for citizens to share their thoughts on the topic.

A special advisory committee has even been appointed to examine new regulations that could be added to the Canada Labour Code to better reflect workplace realities amid COVID-19.

Residents can share their work-from-home experiences with the government via email, in a special public forum, and/or by responding to a number of focused questions online until April 30 — that is, if they're up for adding even more screen time to their already never-ending days.

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