From Ringing to Impinging

The Intrusion of Technology into the Employment Relationship

  • Katie Dakus


Technology has fundamentally altered how individuals contact and connect with each other. This has troubling ramifications for the employment sector, as employees may receive electronic communications from their employer outside of their scheduled work hours. Employees may feel various professional or societal pressures to answer these communications, resulting in the employee engaging in unpaid labour. This paper asks if Canada should seek to regulate after-hours communications between employers and employees by conducting an international analysis of approaches taken by other jurisdictions. Three potential methods of reform are examined, and a recommendation is made for Canada to implement a “right to disconnect.” The right to disconnect means that employees cannot be penalized for ignoring communications received after-hours. The right to disconnect could be legislated through the Employment Standards Act and the Canada Labour Code to provide additional protections to employees.