New Canadian Laws that May Impact You

AJ Chisling
3 min readMar 16, 2023

With so much going on right now, even important news can get lost, and this includes some recent or proposed Canadian laws that may affect you directly. These include a possible new “right to disconnect” so employees can have some downtime from work, a ban on non-compete clauses in contracts and a change in our national medical assist laws.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know.

1. Right to disconnect

Sometimes the emails, texts, video calls, and all the other notification pings on our phones, tablets, laptops and desktops can be overwhelming. And with more and more people working from home, the line between work and home is definitely blurred. There can be an expectation from your employer that you will be there to respond no matter what is sentor when.

How often do you check your phone in the evenings or on the weekends and think, “Oh, I’ll just give work a quick reply?” We are guessing very often. Well, with a focus on the mental health issues many are experiencing, especially with the ongoing pandemic, the Ontario government has proposed a new law that will force companies with 25 or more employees to establish a clear policy on how workers can disconnect from the office, including do not disturb times and the expected response times for emails.

We’ll see if this proposed law is enacted as it is drafted nowand then we’ll see if the other provinces will follow suit.

2. No more non-compete clauses

Also from Ontario, in a first in Canada, comes a proposed ban on non-compete clauses in employment contracts. You may have seen a non-compete clause in your own work agreement. It usually states something like: “Once you leave this job, you cannot work in a similar job for a competing company located near here for a period of [six months or two years or even longer].”

While these clauses have long been contentious, in general, the courts have accepted them as enforceable as long as they are reasonable and necessary, and don’t prevent ex-employees from working at all or they limit their options so much that it makes it almost impossible for them to find another job.

Well, the Ontario government is proposing to make it much tougher to limit what ex-employees can do when they leave a job. The goal is to attract more skilled workers to the province (and to companies) and not allow employers to determine what they can or cannot do after they leave a post. And to make sure non-compete clauses don’t appear in contracts where it is neither reasonable or necessary to have one, such as limiting the work opportunities for lower-wage workers. If they are banned outright, it solves these problems.

As this proposed change will be a first in the country, we will see if other provinces adopt similar changes to their labour laws.

3. Medical assistance in dying

This recently amended law addressing who and when and how a request for end-of-life assistance can be made in Canada, is not many people’s favourite topic to discuss, but it is importantand it can be part of your own estate planning plans. Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying law, known as MAID, makes it easier for people to control how and when they will pass on. We won’t go too much into the details here, but suffice to say that planning your own end of life is extremely important and may save a lot of time, expense and heartache for your loved ones.

4. Some other changes

  • A national ban on conversion therapy
  • A ban on single-use plastics (sometime this year)
  • Minimum wage hikes in Ontario and Prince Edward Island
  • Paid sick leave in British Columbia
  • Mandatory smoke detectors in Saskatchewan
  • Licenses for vape shops in Manitoba
  • Access to adoption records in Nova Scotia