Canada implements the biggest labor reforms in its history

A tremendous number of 18,000 federally regulated entities and 900,000 of their employees are going to face the action of a new roundup of the federal employment standards in Canada enforced from September 1, 2019.

New amendments are going to impact Canadian workers related to the federally regulated industries (see the list below), including government servants. They are aimed to revitalize the Canadian workforce toward a modern reorganized Labor Code and are basically the biggest and the most critical reforms of the Labor Code in Canadian history.

The “Nouvelles normes” are mainly subject to employees entitlement and focused on the following concerns:

  • More flexible work. Under the new law, employees are entitled to request a change in working hours after six months of consecutive employment. The right to propose working outside the office being provided too. Employers, however, may refuse to give such benefits due to financial or operational reasons.
  • Settlements in scheduling and overtime. Employees must be provided with their shift schedule at least 96 hours before the rollup. Employers should inform workers a minimum of 24 hours before their shift schedule to be changed. Employees have the right to exchange the overtime to their time off at the rate of 1.5 hours off to one hour of overtime alternatively to repayment.
  • Increased vacation. Workers can go for three weeks of vacation in the case of five years of consecutive employment and four weeks of vacation after ten years of employment. Holiday pay provided.
  • Personal leave updates. Five days of personal leave are authorized after three successive months of work. The common reasons for personal leave include citizenship ceremonies, family responsibilities, jury duty and medical issues with the option to extend to 10 days for victims of family violence. Indigenous may take five days to leave to meet their traditional practices.

Despite required investments and more freedom provided to employees, officials believe that new amendments will likely increase employees’ productivity due to high motivation rate:
“Federally regulated employees may be more productive while at work because of predictability in their shifts and longer periods away from work”, – Lori Sterling, former Deputy Minister of Labor, said.

As for American companies operating in Canada under federal jurisdiction, their employees are set to be governed under the implemented standards too.

Federally regulated industries in Canada

The industries under federal regulations include:

  • Banks
  • Marine shipping, ferry and port services
  • Air transportation, including airports, aerodromes, and airlines
  • Railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
  • Canals, pipelines, tunnels, and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
  • Telephone, telegraph and cable systems
  • Private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act
  • Others (see the link)
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