Important Changes in Canadian Employment Law That You Need to Know

Employment law is constantly evolving, and Canadian law is no exception. In recent years, there have been significant changes to employment law in Canada that both employers and employees need to be aware of. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most important changes to Canadian employment law that you should know about.

The Approaching Deadlines for Canada’s Pay Equity Act and Its Regulations

Canada’s pay equity legislation has been in place since 1984, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the government enacted the Pay Equity Act to strengthen gender equality in the workforce. The Pay Equity Act is set to come into effect on August 31, 2021, and its regulations on January 1, 2022. The act requires federally regulated employers with ten or more employees to establish and maintain a pay equity plan to ensure employees receive equal pay for work of equal value. Failure to comply with the Pay Equity Act can lead to penalties, inspection orders, or monetary awards for employees.

Applicability of the Pay Equity Act to Federally Regulated Employers with Ten or More Employees

The Pay Equity Act applies to federally regulated employers with ten or more employees. These employers must develop and implement a pay equity plan that addresses any wage gaps between male and female employees. The plan must identify areas of the organization where wage gaps exist and take steps to address those gaps. Employers must also report the results of their pay equity plan to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Implementation of Paid Sick Leave under the Canada Labour Code

The Canada Labour Code has recently been amended to grant employees ten days of paid sick leave. This entitlement is available to employees for personal sickness, injury, medical appointments, or to assist family members. This change came into effect on September 1, 2019. After completing one month of continuous employment with the employer, employees will earn one day of paid sick leave for every month of employment.

New restrictions on an employer’s utilization of young workers

The federal government imposed new restrictions on March 9, 2023 regarding an employer’s utilization of employees under a certain age. These restrictions are aimed at ensuring that young workers are not taken advantage of and are given adequate working conditions. Employees below 18 years of age may not work during any time they are required by provincial law to be in school, and employers are prohibited from hiring such employees during school hours.

Prohibition of Employees from Working During their Required School Hours

Prohibiting employees from working during school hours is an important measure to ensure that all workers receive a good education and are able to work without interruption. The new laws also ensure that young workers are not taken advantage of by their employers who seek to exploit them for their labor. This change came into effect on March 9, 2023, and employers should ensure that they are compliant with these new laws.

Increase in the Number of Weeks for EI Sickness Benefits

On December 18, 2022, the number of weeks of Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits that employees may claim was increased from fifteen weeks to twenty-six weeks. This change has been enacted to provide additional support for individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition or injury. It is important to understand the extended benefits available to EI sickness benefit claimants, particularly for those in need of longer-term support.

Changes to the Competition Act regarding wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements

Finally, on June 23, 2022, Canada’s federal government announced changes to the Competition Act that are set to become effective on June 23, 2023. The new amendments involve wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements between employers. These changes expand the Competition Bureau’s powers to review such agreements and enforce penalties if the agreements breach the act. These activities could also result in significant civil liability through a potential class action brought under section 36 of the Competition Act.

Potential Civil Liability under Section 36 of the Competition Act

Section 36 of the Competition Act provides that any person who has suffered as a result of conduct that is contrary to the Act may bring a civil action against that person or company. This provision is particularly relevant to the changes made to the Competition Act, as employees who have been adversely affected by a wage-fixing or no-poaching agreement may bring a class action under section 36 of the Act.

Employment law in Canada is constantly evolving, and it is important to stay up-to-date with the changes that may affect you or your business. This article provides an overview of some of the most significant recent changes to Canadian employment law, including revisions to the Pay Equity Act, paid sick leave entitlements, restrictions for young workers, employment insurance sickness benefits, and the Competition Act. As an employer or employee, it is essential to understand the implications of these changes and stay compliant with federal legislation.

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