With the rise of remote and hybrid work, the topic of electronic monitoring has been a topic of discussion throughout the Covid era. From the employers’ side, they want to track performance to ensure there is no drop off while the staff is working from the comforts of their homes unsupervised. For employees, they feel like it is a violation of their privacy. It can be scary not knowing what is being monitored and even worse when you do not realize that you are being watched from unknown eyes.
Whether you know it or not, many companies are using different methods to check up on their staff throughout the work week. Some companies may be using multiple methods, while others may have simple mechanisms in place. But the question remains, how much is too much, and what lines are being crossed and left unchecked?
Luckily, there will be some guidance and regulations surrounding this issue coming later this year in the form of Bill 88.
Bill 88 what is it and what to expect?
Bill 88 introduces the idea of employers being transparent about their electronic monitoring activities, which includes employee movements using access cards, GPS and tracking the websites emails and online chats of the employees and more.
With the new guidelines the policy has given more structure as to what employers must include. The following are some things to look for in your current policy or the upcoming policy provided by your employer:
- That you are being monitored or not
- The circumstance of how you are monitored
- The reason you are monitored
- The date in which the policy was made / date if anything were to be changed to an existing policy.
- If they are tracking employees via employee’s own personal device
Bill 88 applies to any employers with 25+ employees. The policy has been set to take place on October 11th, 2022 and employees should be given a written policy or statement within 30 days of the start date. Any company that exceeds 25+ employees in the future must have the policy within 3 months (March 31st) of the start of the year of having 25+ employees.
Employers must also have a copy of the policy for three years if they decide to amend the electronic monitoring policy. Any changes that have been made need to be given to employees within 30 days of the change as well.
Importance of knowledge
As it is important for employers to follow the policies and guidelines, it is just as important for employees to understand these new policies. It’s easy to understand the general concept of the policy that is given but it’s also easier to ignore/skim the document. Knowing how and why your employers are tracking you is important knowledge to have as it can give you more caution in your actions and keep employers accountable as well.
With the introduction of Bill 88, people will never have to be paranoid or second guess whether your employers are monitoring you in unimaginable ways as this new policy should give everyone a sense of relief in knowing what is tracked and why. The biggest thing is that employees are forced to give greater transparency and employees are able to keep employers accountable so that they are not using this power for inappropriate or illegal purposes (for example, tracking you on your day off).
This insight is general information and is not to be used as legal advice or a professional opinion.
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Ontario. (2022, August 17th). Written policy on electronic monitoring of employees. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/written-policy-electronic-monitoring-employees
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