We recently discussed Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022, and its creation of a new policy requirement on employee monitoring. In this post, we discuss another addition to the workplace landscape under Bill 88 – the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022 (“DPWR”). If passed, the DPWR would create new rights for workers who perform digital platform work, such as couriers operating through food delivery apps. There’s been excitement about the DPWR because it introduces a $15 minimum wage for covered workers, but is the legislation as good as it sounds?
1. The Basics
Key terms under the DPWR include a worker’s entitlement to:
- Minimum wage for all active hours and a recurring pay period and pay day
- Earned tips or other gratuities
- Written information about:
- How pay is calculated
- The recurring pay period and pay day
- How and when tips are collected by the operator
- Factors used to determine whether an operator is offered assignments
- Whether there is a performance rating system and consequences of poor ratings
- Right to be from reprisal for making inquiries about or exercising their rights under the DPWR
- Where applicable, the reason for removing a worker’s access to the digital platform and two weeks’ written notice if access is to be removed for 24 hours or longer (the latter does not apply if the worker is guilty of wilful misconduct)
Notably, disputes must also be resolved in Ontario. This is significant given that some companies, such as Uber, have previously established steep prices and onerous conditions on the hearing of disputes.
The DPWR applies to workers who perform digital platform work, defined as “the provision of for payment ride share, delivery, courier or other prescribed services by workers who are offered work assignments by an operator through the use of a digital platform.”
It is also provincial legislation and so does not apply to federally regulated employees.
By creating the DPWR as standalone legislation separate from the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), the province has sidestepped the question of gig workers’ employment status. This is because rights are afforded to workers based on them being on a digital platform rather than based on being employees. The proposed statute has therefore been met with disapproval by some gig workers and their supporters who say that they should be made full employees. Further, one advocacy group, RideFair Coalition, has argued that limiting minimum wage to only active hours significantly disadvantages workers who spend about 40% of their time waiting for a trip.
Karimjee Law is continuing to monitor further changes to the DPWR and the ESA and is pleased to advise employers and employees on the new provisions.