On April 1, 2014, Bill C-45, also known as the Jobs and
Growth Act, 2012, came into effect, amending parts of the
Canada Labour Code (the "Code").
The Code applies to all federally regulated employers, such
as those involved in transportation, banking, and communications
(television and radio). The recent amendments introduce new
procedures for complaints relating to unpaid wages and other
alleged violations of the Code. The changes also
impose new time limits for complaints, payment of vacation pay and
recovery of unpaid wages.
NEW COMPLAINT TIME LIMITS
Under the new amendments, complaints of unpaid wages and unpaid
vacation pay will be limited to 6 months from the date the employer
was required to pay those wages and vacation pay to the employee.
Any other complaints must be made within 6 months from the
day the subject matter of the complaint arose.
Prior to these changes, the Code contained no timelines within
which an employer was required to pay unpaid vacation pay or unpaid
wages to an employee. Employers were at risk of a wage order
that could have extended back to an employee's hire
The changes will also limit the period of time covered by a
payment order. Payment orders will now apply to wages for a
period of 12 months only. This period starts on the day that
the complaint is made, or, 12 months before the date employment was
terminated. The limitation on vacation pay is extended to 24
months from either the date of the complaint or termination,
whichever is later.
WHAT THESE NEW CHANGES MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS
For federally regulated employers these new changes mean there
is more certainty for complaints of unpaid wages and unpaid
vacation pay. Employers will no longer have to defend against
dated wage complaints.
The addition of time limits for making complaints under the Code
as well as the introduction of a fixed period of time for which a
payment order for unpaid wages can be made will bring the Code in
line with many other provincial jurisdictions that have similar
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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