Sun. Dec 10th, 2023
    The Importance of the “Right to Disconnect” in the Modern Workplace

    In today’s evolving work landscape, finding a healthy balance between professional and personal life has become increasingly challenging. With the rise of remote work and hybrid office setups, employees often find themselves struggling to disconnect from work outside of designated hours. This raises an important question: should employees be required to perform work-related tasks beyond their contractual hours, and are they entitled to compensation for this extra time?

    While there is no explicit nationwide legislation in Canada addressing the “right to disconnect,” Ontario is the pioneering province that has introduced measures to protect employees in this regard. The Ontario “right to disconnect” legislation requires certain employers to implement written policies outlining expectations for employee engagement outside of regular working hours. These policies aim to address issues such as reading or responding to work-related emails or calls outside of designated work hours.

    If your employer does not have a policy in place, it is crucial to understand that provincial employment standards legislation already sets limits on work-related communications outside of regular working hours. However, exemptions may apply to certain positions, such as managers, supervisors, and specific professionals.

    It is essential for employees to be aware of their rights regarding working time and fair compensation. Engaging in work-related activities outside of contractual hours without proper compensation can potentially breach statutory regulations. This may include situations where you are not paid for the additional time worked, your overtime thresholds are not met, you do not receive overtime pay, or you are expected to participate in work-related communications during statutory holidays or vacation time.

    If you find yourself in a situation where your employer expects you to be available after hours without clear compensation or guidance, it is advisable to seek legal advice to understand your specific rights and options.


    Q: Is the “right to disconnect” recognized nationwide in Canada?
    A: Currently, the “right to disconnect” legislation is unique to Ontario. Other provinces may have similar provisions within their employment standards legislation, but no nationwide legislation exists.

    Q: Who is exempt from restrictions on work-related communications outside of regular working hours?
    A: Managers, supervisors, and certain professionals may be exempt from limitations on work-related communications outside of regular working hours.

    Q: What should I do if my employer does not have a written policy on disconnecting from work?
    A: If your employer does not have a disconnecting from work policy, it is essential to familiarize yourself with your provincial employment standards legislation and consult a lawyer to understand your specific rights and obligations.