Canada: Bill 176: An Act To Amend The Act Respecting Labour Standards And Other Legislative Provisions Mainly To Facilitate Family-Work Balance

Recently the National Assembly of Quebec put forth Bill 176: An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance. While the title of this proposed Bill is largely indicative of its contents, there are a few surprises contained within. The following is a brief overview of some of the proposed modifications to the Act respecting labour standards.

Placement and Recruitment Agencies

In line with other provinces that already have similar legislation in place, Quebec aims to join their ranks by legislating placement and recruitment agencies.

Under the Bill’s proposed additions, all placement or recruitment agencies would require a licence to operate. That licence would be issued by the Commission according to regulations that have not yet been revealed.

The proposed legislation puts an obligation on the “client employer” to ensure that the placement or recruitment agency with whom it deals is properly licensed.

Furthermore, placement agencies would be prohibited from paying their employees at a lower rate than employees of the client establishment who are performing the same tasks simply because of their employment status or if they work fewer hours per week. Therefore, any differences in remuneration would likely need to be justified by differences in the ability, training or years of experience.

Significantly, the Bill proposes that the placement agency and the “client employer” be held solidarily (i.e. jointly) liable for any pecuniary obligations which may arise under the Act. Such pecuniary obligations include for instance wages, statutory holidays, overtime and annual leave. This provision in particular is a serious change from the current status in which only the true employer, whether the agency or the client employer can be liable. This will place a larger burden on client employers to ensure that placement agencies conform to labour practices or else they will find themselves potentially liable.

Sexual Harassment

The proposed Bill expressly includes sexual harassment as a form of psychological harassment. This has been functionally the case for many years and is simply legislating the existing state of affairs.

However, the Bill includes a new requirement that employers adopt a “psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy and make it available to their employees.”

While previously such policies were highly recommended and many employers already had them, such policies will now become mandatory for employers as part of the obligation to ensure an environment free from harassment.

Differences in Treatment

The Bill proposes an important, and likely controversial, addition to the existing provision that prohibits differences in treatment. Namely, it proposes to prohibit differences in pension plans and other employee benefits based solely on employees’ hiring dates. This new provision will not have a retroactive effect, meaning existing pension plans and benefits which differentiate based on hiring date can continue.  

To that effect, the Bill also proposes a whole new section that articulates the recourse process for employees who believe they are subject to a difference in treatment. Similar to existing recourses, employees could file a written complaint to the Commission within 90 days of the distinction becoming known to them. The Commission will then undertake an inquiry and attempt to settle the matter. If the complaint has merit and no settlement can be reached, the Commission will pursue the complaint and represent the employee at the Administrative Labour Tribunal. At the conclusion of such a complaint the Administrative Labour Tribunal would have very broad powers to order an employer to allow employees into a particular pension plan or to be given benefits owed and compensate any losses to the employees due to their lack of inclusion in the plan or benefit.

Facilitating Family-Work Balance

As the title of the Bill indicates, numerous provisions have been proposed to increase entitlements to workers in terms of vacation, other leaves with and without pay, and improved hours of work.

The Bill proposes to allow employees to refuse to work if they have not been informed at least five days in advance that they will be required to work. Presently, there is no minimum advance notice required for informing employees of their work schedule.

Under this Bill, employees will be given three weeks of paid vacation per year after three years of service, whereas now this entitlement is only available after five years of service. This would represent an important change for employers in terms of additional costs related to this measure but also in terms of staffing. If adopted, this measure could very well enter into force just in time for the upcoming summer holidays.

Absences due to sickness, an organ or tissue donation for transplants, an accident or a criminal offence, have been broadened to include absences due to domestic violence. While this is a laudable addition, given the sensitive nature of this type of absence, we question what type of evidence an employer may request from their employee in order to allow such an absence. 

Further, employees need no longer have a minimum of three months of continuous service with their employer in order to benefit from such absences. The Bill also proposes that the first two days of such an absence be with pay, whereas previously they were all without pay. However, these two days of “with pay” absence are only available to those employees who do indeed have three months of service with the employer.

Employers and employees under the proposed amendments will be able to agree to stagger working hours on a basis other than a weekly basis, without the necessity of authorization from the Commission. However, the maximum period is over four weeks and the work week cannot exceed more than 50 hours per week. Thus, overtime would be calculated after 160 hours.

Presently the Act provides for 10 days of unpaid leave so that an employee may fulfil obligations relating to the care, health or education of various direct family members or those of their spouse. The Bill proposes three important modifications to this provision. The first is that the first two of these 10 days are with pay. However, this is cumulative with the two paid days of leave mentioned above. This means that the employee is entitled to two paid days of leave in a year whether they be for the purpose of sickness et al. or for fulfilling familial obligations. Secondly, the category of person to whom the employee must fulfil familial obligations would be broadened from the employee’s spouse, child, spouse’s child, parent, grandparent, or sibling, to “a relative or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver, as attested by a professional working in the health and social services sector”. This could encompass many other relatives previously excluded, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. Finally, the proposed changes would allow for an employer to require from the employee proof of the reason for the absence.

We remain available to assist employers who wish to know more about how these proposed changes may impact their operations. 

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions