A suite of changes to Part III of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) are coming into force on September 1, 2019, that will confer new rights to employees. For many federally regulated employers, these amendments, brought under Bills C-86 and C-63, will have a significant impact on their workplaces and businesses.

To assist employers prepare for and navigate these new legislative changes and additions, the employment and labour group at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP has created the “Federal Employment and Labour Guide”. The guide includes information and takeaways for employers on the following:

  • Overtime: Employees now have the right to refuse overtime in certain circumstances. Also, employees may, subject to certain conditions, request to bank overtime and take time off in lieu of overtime.
  • New hours of work and rest: The new provisions in the Code will allow employees to take a 30-minute unpaid break for every five consecutive hours worked. Additionally, employees will be entitled to an eight-hour rest period between shifts, and will benefit from a 96-hour notice of schedule, and 24-hour notice of shift changes. Finally, employees will be entitled to medical and nursing breaks. All these changes are subject to certain exceptions and conditions, which are explained in the Guide.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Employees with six months of continuous service can now request flexible work arrangements, including changes to their work hours, schedule, and location. Employers are not required to grant all requests, but, as detailed in the guide, their reasons for refusing to do so are limited and all requests must be well documented.
  • Vacation: Under the new provisions, employees will now be entitled to greater paid vacation based on their years of continuous service, the specifics of which are also included in the guide.
  • New paid leaves: Employers must be aware that new and amended provisions related to leaves under the Code now include (i) family and violence leave, (ii) personal leave, and (iii) enhanced bereavement leave. A portion of these leaves must be paid for employees with three months of continuous service. In some cases, the employer’s ability to require documentation from employees to justify going on leave is restricted.
  • Unpaid leaves: New unpaid leaves under the Code include leave for court or jury duty, leave for pregnant or nursing women (distinct from maternity and parental leave), traditional Aboriginal practices leave, and medical leave. Again, in many cases, the employer’s ability to ask for documents in support of the leave is strictly regulated under the Code.

Our employment and labour team has also published three legal updates on the changes coming to Part III of the Code, which offer perspective and commentary on the September 1, 2019, amendments. They can be accessed here:

The guide can be accessed electronically, in either official language, by clicking on the following links:

Please note the guide is limited to the most notable legislative amendments that will come into force on September 1, 2019.

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