The Working for Workers Act and Why the...

The Working for Workers Act and Why the “Right to Disconnect” is Important (French version available)

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In 2021, the government of Ontario introduced the Working for Workers Act to try to help make life better for workers in the province. The act contains several important elements, but one part that could make life easier for workers is the “right to disconnect.” This section allows workers to turn off their computers and other devices once the workday is done. If employers follow the new guidelines, it could make life much easier and better for many people.

In the past two years, many more people than usual have been working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has made some aspects of life easier for many people who have not had to spend hours in the car or bus getting to and from work. They have been able to cook supper while finishing their work tasks and to take time out from work when they need it rather than waiting for scheduled breaks.

Despite the advantages, working from home has also caused problems for workers as they have had difficulties in ending their workday at a regular time to allow them to relax. Many people in office jobs, teaching, and other professions already had this challenge before the pandemic. Sometimes, they would work their regular hours, only to have phone calls and tasks to do from home in preparation for the next day. Although people in some professions like teaching and writing have traditionally had extra work to do in the evenings and on weekends, many other people are now having to work long after their official workday is done.

This trend can cause many problems. People who must always be ready to take a call from the boss cannot take the time they need to relax or to care for their families properly. They may become overworked and stressed, and they can burn out quickly. Then they might not be able to work at all. Meetings, work tasks, and planning for the future can all use up the mental energy that people have and leave them unable to cope with life.

The governments of several countries have recognized the problem of employees who have no work/life balance. In France and elsewhere, employees have the right to turn off their job-related electronic devices after working hours so that they can concentrate on other aspects of their lives, including their health, their families, and anything else they need. This can help workers manage their lives better and avoid crises that can come from failing to take care of other aspects of life.

The Working for Workers Act contains other important points, such as removing employment barriers for people who were trained outside Canada. For example, an engineer trained in Egypt or India would more easily be able to get a job as an engineer in Canada instead of having to retrain or work in low-level jobs for years. That way, Canada will get the benefit of these people’s expertise while the immigrants also get to use their skills.

However, the right to disconnect is likely the most important aspect of the act for most people. Working all day, or even having to be ready for work all day, can be very stressful and overwhelming. The Working for Workers Act could help make life much easier for many people in Ontario.



Bibby, Adrianne. “Are You Respecting Your Employees’ Right to Disconnect?” Flexjobs. https://www.flexjobs.com/employer-blog/employees-right-to-disconnect/.

Edmond Harnden. “Ontario Government Introduces the Working for Workers Act, 2022.”

Government of Ontario. “Working for Workers Act 2021.” https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1001032/working-for-workers-act-2021.

Work & Labour News & Research. “The Right to Disconnect: Why Legislation Doesn’t Address the Real Problems with Work.” https://worklabournewsresearch.tumblr.com/post/669224175839412224/the-right-to-disconnect-why-legislation-doesnt.

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