What is the Right to Disconnect Law in Ontario?

What Employees Should Know About the Right to Disconnect in Ontario


The Right to Disconnect law in Ontario, introduced in the Employment Standards Act in 2021, aims to protect employees from being pressured to engage in work-related communications outside of regular working hours, thereby safeguarding their work-life balance and overall well-being.

With more employees than ever working remotely, there has never been a more urgent time for a clear disconnecting from work policy in Ontario. Though there is a disconnect law in Ontario currently in place, there is plenty of grey area that leaves both employers and employees feeling uncertain about their rights within and outside of work hours. If you are an employee who is looking for information about the right to disconnect in Ontario, we are here to help make sense of the current disconnect from work policy in Ontario and help you learn more about how to protect yourself as an employee.

At Soni Law Firm, we are the employment lawyer Toronto employees can count on when looking for help with understanding and protecting their rights as employees. We know that the right to disconnect policy in Ontario can feel confusing. If you are feeling pressured to respond to workplace communications outside of work hours or are burnt out from constantly feeling like you are on the clock, we can help. Contact a member of our team to discuss the unique circumstances of your employment and protect your rights as an employee.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Employment Insurance

How Can I Protect My Right to Disconnect as an Employee?

If you are an employee who is regularly engaging in work-related communication during your time off or after regular working hours, you likely have questions about Ontario legislation on right to disconnect. There are no set guidelines on what needs to be in a right to disconnect policy. However, this does not mean that employees should simply accept that responding to work-related communication after working hours is acceptable.

Employees should review their employer’s right to disconnect policy to understand what their employer expects of them as it relates to workplace communication. Though there may be instances where responding to workplace communication on a day off is reasonable, such as in the case of being asked to work overtime hours, not responding should not be something you are penalized for.

What Does the Right to Disconnect Mean?

Disconnecting and the right to disconnect refers to not engaging in work-related communication such as emails, phone calls, video, calls, messaging, and other forms of communication outside of working hours. Right to Disconnect policy was created to help protect the mental-health and well-being of employees who often feel pressured to be working or respond to work-related communications outside of regular working hours.

Though there may be some exceptions to the right to disconnect in Ontario policy, your first step to protecting your rights as an employee is to know them. Your employer should have a right to disconnect policy and should honour the policy for all employees.

What Is the Right to Disconnect Law in Ontario?

Ontario Right to Disconnect policy was introduced in the Employment Standards Act in 2021 and is a relatively new policy. The purpose of this policy is to protect workers from being asked or pressured to engage in work-related communications and activities after regular working hour, thus protecting the work-life balance of employees and their overall well-being.

The right to disconnect Ontario effective date was December 2, 2021. Though this policy is somewhat new, employers should know of this policy and have a written policy on the right to disconnect in place within the workplace.

What Does Right to Disconnect Mean for Employers?

If you are an employer with more than 25 employees, you have an obligation to have a written policy on disconnecting from work. However, there is no specific guideline on what needs to be included in a disconnecting policy. It is a good idea for employers to create a policy that addresses when employees are welcome to stop replying to any work-related communication, including emails, phone calls, text messages, and video calls.

If there are any exceptions to the disconnection policy, such as when employees are on-call, or are needed for emergency purposes, these exceptions should be outlined and made clear to employees. Employers should note that it is their responsibility to provide employees with a copy of the disconnection policy.

What Should I Do If I Am Being Asked to Respond Outside of Working Hours?

Many employees fear that they will get passed up for opportunities or promotions if they choose to not respond to workplace communication outside of working hours. As there is currently little an employee can do to get support with right to disconnect laws, there is potential that employees can risk not being protected.

If your employer expects communication from you after working hours on a regular basis, so much so that your work responsibilities are increased, you may wish to consider speaking with an employment lawyer. At Soni Law Firm, we are committed to helping you understand and protect your rights as an employee. Let us help you make sense of the right to disconnect Ontario policy and protect your work-life balance.

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Why Soni Law Firm

Soni Law Firm is a boutique employment, human rights, and labour litigation firm. We provide our clients with expert counsel for all types of employment situations including unionized workers and contract employees.

We are a well-established firm with a strong track record. If you are a contract or fixed-term worker who has concerns about your treatment or rights within the workplace, do not hesitate to contact Soni Law Firm. We are here to help you know your rights and the responsibilities of your employer. Book your free consultation with us today.