Electronic Monitoring: The Right to Be Informed
A recent amendment to the Employment Standards Act, coming into effect on October 11, 2022 as part of Bill 88, requires employers with 25 or more employees to adopt a written policy on electronic monitoring.
For transition purposes and initial compliance, employers with a count of 25 employees or more as of January 1, 2023 must have a written policy addressing electronic monitoring by March 1 of the respective calendar year. This requirement will continue into subsequent years, where employers will once again have until March 1 of each year to implement a policy if they have 25 or more employees as of January 1 of that respective calendar year.
It is conceivable for an employer to no longer require the policy; however, the employer must keep a copy of this written policy for three years after the electronic monitoring policy is no longer in effect.
According to statements made by the Minister of Labour, the legislation’s purpose is to protect employees’ privacy by providing information on how and why their employer is tracking their computers, cell phones, GPS tracking systems, and other electronic devices. There appear to be no obvious exceptions in the legislation for any technology or information. The rights apply whether employees work in the field, in the office, or remotely.
The legislation comes at a time when an unprecedented number of Canadians are working from home and traditional methods of assessing employee productivity are no longer viable.