Canada Labour Code Amendments

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The Canada Labour Code has recently been amended to include better laws for those working in the sectors that fall under Federal power such as air travel, airways, railways, road transportation, telecommunications, banks, and Federal Crown corporations.

What does this mean for employees? It means better benefits, pay and better breaks from work.

Not quite sure if your needs as an employee are being met? You can contact Stacey Reginald Ball at 416-921-7997 x225 or visit his website at https://www.wrongfuldimissal.ca for help with your legal rights and reviewing your employment contract.

The amendments to the Canada Labour Code have been effective since September 1, 2019, and have taken into effect the following:

Rest periods and mandatory breaks

Every employer is required to provide a mandatory unpaid 30-minute break for every five-hour shift. However, if the employee is required to stay available while on their mandatory break, the breaks will be paid.

Each employee is now entitled to a minimum of eight hours off between shifts.

Employees are now allowed an unlimited amount of unpaid medical breaks for whatever medical reason or—for nursing mothers, a nursing break.

Overtime and Scheduling of Shifts

With the exception of emergencies, an employee may refuse to take a shift in the case of not being notified at least 96 hours prior to scheduling a work shift.

Employees must now receive at the minimum, a 24-hour notice before a shift change with the exception of emergencies.

Employees are now allowed to opt for “lieu time” instead of overtime pay. Lieu time allows employees to opt for a 1.5 hour time off per overtime hour instead of the traditional overtime pay.

The right to refuse overtime is now mandatory with certain limitations.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Employees that have worked for a minimum of six consecutive months with an employer have the right to request changes in their shift schedule, location, terms and conditions with only a few exceptions allowing the employer to refuse the requests.

Vacation, Holiday Compensation, and Leaves

Employees with at least a year in consecutive employment are now afforded longer paid vacation compensation. Allowing employees with at least a year in consecutive service the right to two weeks of paid vacation with a rate of 4% vacation pay, three weeks of paid vacation for employees with at least 5 years of consecutive service with a rate of 6% vacation pay and four weeks of paid vacation for employees with at least 10 years of consecutive service with a rate of 8% vacation pay.

New employees will also now receive general holiday compensation for holidays that fall within the employee’s first 30 days of employment which were previously unpaid.

Employees that have completed three months of consecutive service are now entitled to a total of five days of personal leave per year with only two of those days classified as unpaid. Instances of personal illness, injury or caring for a family member qualify for personal leave and the employer may request documentation to verify the nature of the leave.

Victims of family violence are now also a viable leave option for employees. It ensures ten days of leave. Five of which are paid if the employee has completed three months of consecutive service to the employer. It allows victims of family violence or parents of children who are victims of family violence to file for a leave from work.

Employees who are now identifying as Aboriginal are entitled to 5 unpaid leave days per year to engage in Aboriginal traditions.

Employees are also entitled to an unspecified number of unpaid leaves to participate in court whether as a witness, juror or to attend jury duty.

Each employee that suffers the death of an immediate family member is entitled to a leave of up to five days, the first three of which are paid if the employee has completed three months of consecutive service to the employer.

The Minimum Service Requirement has also been removed for the following leave requests: maternity, parental, critical illness, or death and/or disappearance of a child.

The benefits specified above cover most changes that are being brought into the Canada Labour Code which allows Federal sectors to be more in line with the provincial work sectors that have similar laws protecting its employees as well.

Unlike the provincial sectors which have had most of these laws in place prior to the amending of the Canada Labour Laws, these entitlements are new to the Federal sector with more amendments set to be implemented.

Additional improvements are being discussed however, dates for implementation have not yet been set so it is crucial to keep an open eye and steady ears for more amendments geared toward aligning the benefits of all workers.