The Federal Government has pledged to amend the Canada
Labour Code to allow federally regulated workers to formally
request flexible work arrangements from their employers, noting
that a statutory right to request flexible work arrangements would
align with existing obligations under human rights law (e.g. family
status protections around an employee's childcare
Following this pledge, the Federal Ministry of Employment,
Workforce Development and Labour recently published a discussion paper on the topic, and announced
that it will be conducting public consultations about flexible work
arrangements, including flexibility around work schedules, hours of
work, location or work, leaves, and rest periods. The consultations
are focused on the implementation of such arrangements – that
is, the Federal Government has been clear that these consultations
"are an important step" in eventually
legislating the right to request flexible work arrangements.
The Government has also pledged to engage workers, employers,
labour and employer organizations, academics, experts, and other
organizations "concerned about work-life
balance". At this point, these proposals are in the early
stages and many details remain to be seen – for example, the
circumstances in which an employer may decline an employee's
request for flexible work arrangements (e.g. for good business
reasons), or whether certain employers may be exempt (e.g. small
We will continue to monitor these developments. In the interim,
if you have any questions about flexible work arrangements and
employers’ existing obligations vis-a-vis the same, please
contact any member of the Labour & Employment Group at
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
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