You now have the right to ignore your work emails off-hours in Ontario
It's now officially legal to sit back, relax and ignore those pesky work emails outside of office hours.
Ontario recently passed a "right to disconnect" law that went into effect last week, requiring employers with over 25 employees to have a written policy that allows their employees to disconnect outside of office hours — that includes not responding to emails, phone calls, video calls or sending messages — essentially being free of work-related responsibilities outside of work.
The Ontario government proposed the legislative changes last year in the Working for Workers Act which, once passed, would:
Though many of us are obviously more than happy to hear the news, finally allowing ourselves to disconnect from work-related pressures when we come home, legal experts claim that the new law is very bureaucratic and that it doesn't cover significant new ground.
The law simply requires employers to develop a policy with respect to the right to disconnect, not that employees are entitled to this right. Depending on the employer, their policy could very well continue to keep workers engaged after hours.
It also doesn't erase the pre-existing pressures that many people have from their careers, feeling guilt when disconnecting - particularly during a staff shortage or throughout an urgent work situation.
Responses on Twitter are varied. Many people are excited about the new law, wishing their own provinces would adopt something similar to help citizens maintain a healthy work-life relationship.
I’ve stopped looking at work emails in the evenings. The effect on my well-being, especially my sleep, is extremely evident.— Janet (@mcflygirl8) June 4, 2022
While others are a bit skeptical of how it's going to make any significant changes to how businesses have run before.
There’s no right to disconnect Ontario workers.— David J. Doorey🇨🇦 (@TheLawofWork) June 8, 2022
Please just ignore every fricken article you see that suggests there is. If you complain or ignore after hours emails from you boss, no law protects you from being fired. https://t.co/bRXX0bgcuy
Hopefully, this will pave the ground for more laws that help regulate and maintain a more healthy and sustainable work relationship.
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