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Ontario’s Bill 88: Employee Electronic Monitoring

Ontario employers with 25 or more employees are now legally required to provide a policy on electronic monitoring of staff.

This policy is part of a new requirement under Ontario’s Bill 88, which requires employers to state whether or not electronic monitoring is in place, and if so:

  • The circumstances under which employees are being monitored
  • How that information is being used
  • The date the policy was prepared (as well as the dates of any updates to the policy)

The impetus for the bill was the pandemic. Because, let’s be honest, employers have been monitoring employees for decades — including punch clocks, call recording, video surveillance, pass cards and even GPS.

But during the pandemic, when employees were working from home, companies became concerned about productivity. So, they started to use different software options for monitoring, including key logging. There’s even software that will remotely turn on webcams so that employers can see if people are sitting at their desks or not.

Now, Bill 88 doesn’t restrict any kind of monitoring. It doesn’t say, “Hey, you can’t do this or you can’t do that.” It just says you need to let your staff know if this is in place.

The policy first took effect in October 2022, and employers are required to reassess on Jan. 1st of every year.

Here’s what the Ontario government has to say: “Beginning in 2023, and in the years that follow, employers that employ 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year must have a written policy on the electronic monitoring of employees in place before March 1 of that year.

So, if you don’t currently have a written policy on electronic monitoring, and your company has more than 25 employees, we recommend reaching out to your lawyer and make sure you are compliant with the Employment Standards Act.

Our role is to help companies identify electronic monitoring options — and it turns out that there are a lot to choose from. Contact us to learn more.