Ontario's Employee Electronic Monitoring Policy: What you need to know
As of April 11, 2022, Ontario businesses with 25 or more Ontario employees are required to have a written employee electronic monitoring policy for their workplace.
Affected employers must put a new policy in place by March 1, 2023.
- In order to be compliant, employers of 25 or more Ontario employees in total must have a written Employee Electronic Monitoring policy in place that is shared with all existing and new employees.
- Every January 1, Ontario businesses with under 25 employees should recount their employees. If they employ 25 or more Ontario employees in total, they are required to have this policy in place by March 1 of the same year.
- Once an employer has the written policy in place, there is no requirement to develop a new policy by March 1 of each year.
- You must include the date the policy was prepared and the dates any changes are made to it.
- Businesses who don’t comply could be subject to administrative penalties or fines.
- The policy may be shared in hard-copy or electronically.
CFIB members can access an Employee Electronic Monitoring policy template via the Member Portal.
This policy does not supersede existing employment standards or privacy rules/legislation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does “electronic monitoring” mean?
Electronic monitoring includes all forms of employee monitoring that is done electronically during working hours. Examples include tracking employee movements through access cards and GPS devices on delivery vehicles, and tracking employee website visits, emails, and online chats.
What must the policy contain?
The policy must state whether your business electronically monitors employees. If the answer is yes, your policy must include:
- A statement that your business electronically monitors employees.
- A description of how and in what circumstances your business may electronically monitor employees.
- The purposes for which the information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used by your business.
- The date the policy was prepared.
- The date any changes were made to the policy.
When does the policy have to be in place?
Affected businesses must have their first policy in place by October 11, 2022, or risk a fine. Starting in 2023, employers with 25 or more employees in Ontario on January 1 of any year must have the policy in place before March 1 of that year.
If I don’t electronically monitor my 25+ employees, do I still need the policy?
Yes. In this case, the policy must specifically state that your business does not electronically monitor employees. You should also note that your policy could change in the future and if/when you decide to use electronic monitoring, reasonable notice will be provided to all staff.
How am I required to communicate the policy in the workplace?
- All employees must receive a copy of the policy within 30 days of October 11, 2022.
- Moving forward, a new copy must be provided to all employees within 30 days of any changes being made to the policy.
- All new employees are entitled to a copy of the policy within 30 days of their start date.
- Policies may be provided to employees in printed hard copies or digitally, providing the employee has the ability to print the policy
Which employees do I count to determine if I need the policy?
The count must include all your business’s employees in Ontario, such as full-time, part-time and casual, as well as management, executives and shareholders if they are employees under the Employment Standards Act.
How do I count employees if I have multiple locations of the same business?
A business must look at the total number of employees they have in Ontario, not per location, to determine if the 25-employee threshold has been met.
How do I count employees if my businesses are different?
There are certain circumstances where two or more employers are treated as one employer. More information is available on the government website. If two or more employers are treated as one employer, then all Ontario employees of these two or more employers must be included in the count.
When do I count employees to determine if I need the policy?
Each year, count your employee total as of January 1. If you have 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year, you are required to put the policy in place. If you have under 25 employees, no policy is required for that year. If your numbers fluctuate above or below 25 employees during a year, you do not need a policy and cannot get rid of an existing policy until January 1 of the following year.
Do workers from a temporary help agency count?
Temporary help agencies (i.e., not their clients) are responsible for counting all active and inactive assignment employees. This means that you do not need to include workers from a temporary help agency when counting your total number of employees; however, agency employees must be covered by your policy.
What happens if my business doesn’t comply?
You could be fined for non-compliance (e.g., $250 for the first contravention, multiplied by the number of employees affected).
What are the record-keeping requirements?
You must keep a copy of every policy for three years.
Does the policy have any exemptions beyond workplaces with under 25 employees?
- The policy applies to all employees and employers covered by the Employment Standards Act except the Ontario government, including government agencies, or authorities, boards, commissions, or corporations whose members are all appointed by the Ontario government.
- As of January 1, 2023, business consultants and information technology consultants are no longer covered by the Employment Standards Act and are no longer subject to electronic monitoring policy requirements.