August 27, 2019
Attention Federal Employers: Changes to the Canada Labour Code Starting September 1, 2019
Long-awaited amendments come as a result of two significant pieces of legislation, which aim to modernize the Code, Bill-C63 and Bill-C86.
May 31, 2019
BC Workplace Laws: New Legislation in Effect
New legislation is now in force and will have a significant operational impact on employers across the province.
May 1, 2019
Proposed Labour Law Changes in BC – Bill 30: The Pendulum Swings Toward Labour
The proposed changes, which may be pushed through into law quickly, will significantly impact both union and non-union employers.
April 30, 2019
An Overhaul of BC’s Employment Standards Legislation: Bill 8 – What Employers Need to Know
The Bill contains extensive amendments to the ESA, a significant development with far reaching cost and operational implications for employers.
February 7, 2019
Watch out Taxpayers: WorkSafeBC Issues the Largest Administrative Penalty in British Columbia History
Employers across BC should take this as a stark reminder that failure to implement and/or enforce safety policies and procedures can have serious reputational, financial and human repercussions.
February 5, 2019
BC Court of Appeal Confirms Family Status Discrimination Test
BC Court of Appeal has confirmed the long-standing test that applies to such cases in BC – a test which continues to differ from that used in other provinces and the federal jurisdiction.
January 18, 2019
Safety Failures: Hidden Costs and Consequences – January 2019
This article addresses less frequently discussed, unintended, unexpected and largely hidden costs and consequences of accidents and OHS violations.
January 17, 2019
Are Amateur Athletes Employees? A Surprising Answer from BC
An unprecedented decision in Canadian amateur sports, the BC Labour Relations has ruled that an application by players on Canada’s Senior Men’s Rugby 7s team to unionize may proceed.
November 2, 2018
The Return of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission – Why Employers Should Pay Attention
BC Government introduced a Bill which, if passed into law, will amend the current Human Rights Code in a number of significant ways.
October 26, 2018
BC Labour Relations Code Review Report: A Concerning Future for Employers
BC Minster of Labour released its report and recommendations which will form the basis for anticipated changes to the Code by the NDP Government.
June 27, 2018
Workplace Changes Upcoming in British Columbia: Proposed Changes to BC’s Employment Standards Legislation
This article highlights recommendations made by the Employment Standards Act Reform Project Committee which may have the largest impact on employers in British Columbia.
May 18, 2018
The Ever-Expanding Safety Obligations of Site Owners: “Employer” OHS Obligations Are Imposed on Worksite Owners
SCC issues an important ruling impacting the potential occupational health and safety liability of site owners, even where incidents occur which do not involve their own employees.
April 27, 2018
Changes on the Horizon: Proposed Changes to British Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation System
If the recommendations are implemented, they will have significant implications for employers in managing WorkSafe claims and their costs.
April 10, 2018
Potential Changes to Unpaid Leave Periods in British Columbia
B.C.’s Minister of Labour introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act. Employers should consider how these changes may impact their business.
February 8, 2018
Upcoming Minimum Wage Increases in British Columbia
February 8, 2018 Upcoming Minimum Wage Increases in British Columbia Following an announcement by Premier John Horgan this morning British Columbia’s minimum wage will be increasing at a pace more rapid than many originally expected. The NDP campaigned on a …
February 5, 2018
Random Drug and Alcohol Testing: A High Bar in British Columbia
February 5, 2018 Random Drug and Alcohol Testing: A High Bar in British Columbia A British Columbia arbitrator has struck down a mining company’s mandatory random drug and alcohol testing program, ruling that it is an unreasonable exercise of management …
December 19, 2017
The Supreme Court Broadens the Limits of Workplace Discrimination: Schrenk v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal
December 19, 2017 The Supreme Court Broadens the Limits of Workplace Discrimination: Schrenk v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal Last year the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued reasons in Schrenk v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2016 BCCA 146, …
September 15, 2017
Reminder: Minimum Wage Increases In British Columbia Now In Effect
September 15, 2017 Reminder: Minimum Wage Increases In British Columbia Now In Effect Employers in British Columbia should note the general minimum wage increased effective today, September 15, 2017. The minimum wage in the province is now $11.35 an hour …
May 30, 2017
A NDP Minority Government? Storm Clouds on Horizon for BC Employers
May 30, 2017 A NDP Minority Government? Storm Clouds on Horizon for BC Employers Following a tumultuous few weeks, the B.C. Green Party has agreed to support the B.C. New Democratic Party in the British Columbia legislature. An agreement …
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August 28, 2019
Attention Federal Employers: Changes to the Canada Labour Code Starting September 1, 2019
Certain long-awaited amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) are set to come into force on September 1, 2019. These changes come as a result of two significant pieces of legislation, which aim to modernize the Code:
- Bill C-63, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, which received Royal Assent December 2017.
- Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, which received Royal Assent December 2018.
These Bills provide for various amendments to Part III of the Code, some of which will come into force on September 1, 2019. Federally regulated employers subject to the Code should be aware of these amendments that will soon be law, the most significant of which include:
Meal Breaks and Rest Periods: Employers will be required to provide an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes during every period of 5 consecutive hours of work, with certain exceptions. Further, the amendments will provide a rest period of at least 8 consecutive hours between work periods or shifts, with certain exceptions.
Continuity of Employment: If a work, undertaking, or business, or any part of a work, undertaking, or business, is leased or transferred by sale, merger, or any other manner, the employment of the employee will be deemed to be continuous, notwithstanding the transfer. This will apply in situations where the transfer has been from a provincially regulated employer to a federally regulated employer, as well as when work is being transferred through a retendering process of contracts where a contractors’ employees performs services for a different institution or employer. Mandating continuity of employment where this transfer from one contractor to another and from a provincial regulated employer to a federally related employer is both new and significant.
Scheduling: Employers will be required to provide employees with their work schedule in writing at least 96 hours (4 full days) before the start of the first shift under that schedule. Where 96 hours of notice has not been given, employees will be entitled to refuse the work beginning within 96 hours from the time that the schedule is provided, subject to certain exceptions, including conflicting terms in a collective agreement. Employers will also be prohibited from reprising against employees for such refusals.
Shift Changes: Employers will be required to provide 24 hours’ notice in writing if they are changing or adding a shift to an employee’s schedule, subject to certain exceptions.
Refusal of Overtime: Employees will be entitled to refuse to work overtime in order to carry out family responsibilities as specified and subject to certain exceptions.
Breaks for Medical Reasons or Nursing: Employees will be provided with unpaid breaks that are necessary for medical reasons. If requested by the employer, employees will be required to provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner setting out the length and frequency of the required breaks. Employees will also be entitled to any breaks necessary to nurse or extract breast milk.
Leaves of Absence: The Bill will eliminate service requirements for parental leave, maternity leave, leave related to critical illness, and leave related to death or disappearance. A lessened standard of medical documentation in support of certain leaves has also been implemented; employees will be entitled to provide medical documentation from a defined group of “health care practitioners” rather than “qualified medical practitioners.” The following new leaves are also being introduced:
- Leave for Victims of Family Violence – Up to five (5) days of paid leave each calendar year, after 3 months of continuous employment;
- Leave for Court or Jury Duty – Unspecified number of days, the leave will be for employees to attend at court to: act as a witness, act as a juror, or participate in the jury selection process;
- Medical Leave – The current sick leave provisions will be converted to medical leave, which will cover up to 17 weeks of absence as a result of personal illness or injury, organ or tissue donation, or medical appointments during working hours;
- Personal Leave – Up to five (5) days each calendar year, which will include three (3) paid days after 3 months of continuous employment. The specified reasons for personal leave will include: reasons related to personal illness, carrying out responsibilities related to the health or other urgent matters involving family members, education of family members under 18, attendance at citizenship ceremonies, and for any other reason prescribed by regulation;
- Traditional Aboriginal Practices – Up to five (5) days each calendar year for an employee who is an Aboriginal person to engage in traditional Aboriginal practices including hunting, fishing, harvesting and any practice prescribed by regulation, after 3 months of continuous employment; and
- Bereavement Leave – Up to five (5) days each calendar year. The entitlement will begin on the day on which the death of the immediate family member occurs, and last up to 6 weeks after the latest day on which any funeral, burial or memorial service occurs. After 3 months of continuous employment, the first three (3) days are paid.
Vacation: Employees who complete 10 consecutive years of employment with the same employer will be entitled to 4 weeks of vacation time (8% vacation pay). Employees who complete 5 consecutive years of employment with the same employer will be entitled to 3 weeks of vacation time (6% vacation pay). Previously the right to 3 weeks of vacation was gained after 6 consecutive years of employment. Employees who complete 1 year of employment will be entitled to 2 weeks (4% vacation pay).
Flexible Work Hours Arrangements: Employees will have the right to request a change to certain terms and conditions of employment (number of hours, work schedule, location of work, and any other terms and conditions that are prescribed by the regulation), after 6 months continuous employment. The employer will have the option to grant the request, fully or in part, or refuse the request on certain grounds. The employer will have to respond to the request in writing, and provide reasons, within 30 days.
General Holidays Substitution: An employer will be entitled to substitute another day for a general holiday, subject to approval in writing from the affected employee, or by 70% of the affected employees. Posted notice of any change must be at least 30 days prior.
Holiday Pay: The minimum length of service requirement for holiday pay will be eliminated. Holiday pay will be at least equal to 1/20th of the employee’s wages (excluding overtime earnings) for the 4 week period immediately preceding the week in which the holiday occurs.
Corresponding amendments to the regulations made under the Code have been made to complement these amendments that also will come into effect on September 1, 2019. In particular there is a new Poster listing employee rights that must be posted in workplaces.
Bill C-63 and C-86 contain a number of additional amendments to the Code, which are set to come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but that day will not be before September 1, 2019, and has yet to be announced. Of note, there are amendments addressing the termination of employment, as well as equal pay. Our previous In A Flash summary of Bill-86 can be found here. Keep an eye out for future In A Flash email publications on this subject, as more information on the date these provisions will come into force becomes available.
It is important for federally regulated employers to be aware of these amendments and when they become law, in order to understand and comply with the Code.
The revised regulations can be found here.
If you have any questions regarding the impact of any upcoming changes to Canada’s labour laws on your business, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer .