ontario electronic monitoring

Ontario might soon make it illegal for bosses to secretly snoop on employees

Today in things I'm kind of disturbed to learn are totally legal in Ontario, the provincial government is proposing new legislation that would force employers to actually tell their workers "if and how they are being monitored electronically."

As of right now, bosses can secretly track the movements of their employees through GPS systems, rifle through the contents of their computers, and even tap into their phones without any risk of legal repercussions.

This can all happen in secret without an employee ever finding out... until it's too late and they're out on the street (scrub anything pr0ny from your browser history now. They might be watching.)

Should the new legislation move forward as planned, your employer would still be able to GPS track you and snoop through your stuff without consequence, but they would be required to disclose their actions first... which is better than nothing, I guess?

"If passed, Ontario would become the first province to require electronic monitoring policies and protect workers' privacy by requiring employers be transparent on how employees' use of computers, cell phones, GPS systems and other electronic devices are being tracked," reads a release issued by the province's Ministry of Labour on Thursday.

Similar to Ontario's newly-introduced right to disconnect laws, this one would only apply to employers with 25 or more workers.

Companies within this category would be required to have a written electronic monitoring policy in place for everyone that "contain information on whether the employer electronically monitors its workers" and, if so, "a description of how and in what circumstances the employer does this."

Perhaps most importantly, employers would also need to disclose why they're collecting employee information through electronic monitoring; A creepy supervisor couldn't just check out your GPS location on a Saturday night to find out where the party's at.

The reasons need to be legit (like, say, if you're a delivery person and your work tracks your whereabouts for the purpose of dispatchment and timing updates.)

"Today, businesses have more ways than ever before to monitor where their workers are and what they are doing. Whether you are a delivery person being followed by GPS, a construction worker using a company phone, or an office worker logging in from home, you deserve to know if and how you are being tracked," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, on Thursday.

"The future of work is changing, which is why our government is leading the country to ensure workers remain in the driver's seat."

We should know more specifics in the coming days when this proposal "and others" are unveiled at Queen's Park."

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