Ontario's New Employment Legislation Targets AI in Hiring

Ontario's New Employment Legislation Targets AI in Hiring

In a landmark move, Ontario's recent enactment of the Working for Workers Four Act introduces a direct reference to artificial intelligence in employment law for the first time.

The Act, which received Royal Assent on March 21, mandates that employers must disclose salary ranges and the use of AI during the hiring process. Since the explosion of AI usage in recent years, employers may be using AI programs to refine the application process.

The way LLM models (and other Ai technologies) can help with this is to set parameters that focus on ascertaining the most qualified applicants. Sometimes, companies receive thousands of resumes and companies need to use bots to sift through them all instead of humans.

This legislative change, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 comes in response to the rapid adoption of AI and algorithms among Ontario businesses, fueled by concerns over ethical, legal, and privacy issues. However, this requirement applies only to public job postings, not internal ones. The legislation also doesn't actually stop companies from using AI in this manner; only requiring companies merely disclose the usage of it.

Ontario's Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development emphasizes that this makes Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to require such transparency.

Other changes as a result of the act

An additional change introduced by the Act is the requirement for employers to include salary ranges in public job postings, which must be retained for three years after their removal.

The Act also seeks to protect workers in the restaurant and hospitality sectors by banning unpaid trial shifts and preventing wage deductions in scenarios like "dine and dash" or gas thefts, which reportedly cost Ontario businesses over $3 million in 2022. Minister David Piccini expressed strong support for these measures, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding workers’ earnings.

Looking ahead, the province plans to launch consultations on restricting the use of non-disclosure agreements in workplace harassment cases and on aligning job-protected leave for critical illnesses with federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

This new legislative chapter in Ontario could potentially set a precedent for how AI is managed in the workplace across Canada, reflecting growing concerns over the integration of technology in employment practices.