The Ontario government introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2022 on Feb. 28, which would make Ontario the first province in Canada to establish a minimum wage and other foundational rights for digital platform workers who offer rides or deliver food and other items for companies such as Uber, Door Dash and Instacart.
“As part of our plan to build a stronger economy that works for everyone, we want all workers to have every opportunity to earn a good living and provide for their families,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news release. “It doesn’t matter if you work for a big company, a small business, or for a rideshare app."
Data shows as many as one in five Canadians work in the gig economy, a number that is predicted to increase according to the release. "However, these workers often face uncertain working conditions and lack necessary protections, including finding it difficult to predict paycheques or resolve complaints."
The government’s proposals would enshrine the following rights and protections for digital platform workers:
- earning at least the general minimum wage for time worked;
- the right to keep their tips along with regular pay periods;
- the right to information and clarity around algorithms including:
- how pay is calculated; and
- how and why a worker might be penalized in the allocation of work;
- written notice if they are being removed from the platform and why;
- the right to resolve their work-related disputes in Ontario; and
- protection from reprisal should they seek to assert their rights.
“No one working in Ontario should ever make less than minimum wage for an hour's work," said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, in the release.
“No one working in Ontario should be dismissed without notice, explanation, or recourse. No one should have to travel out of the country to resolve a workplace dispute or sign a contract they do not understand. These core rights are a foundation in our mission to help all workers earn bigger paychecks to take care of their families, not an endpoint.”
Many digital platforms use algorithms to determine when and how quickly workers are given their next delivery or customer. However, most digital platforms do not share this with their workers making it unclear why other workers may pick up more work than them.
Some digital platforms do not provide their workers with clear explanations on how their pay is calculated. This makes it difficult to predict their earnings.
Digital platforms can currently remove workers from their platforms without providing an explanation why. If workers appeal the decision, they may not be able to speak directly with a person.