Canada: Government Of Canada Introduces Major Changes To Canada Labour Code And Creates Federal Pay Equity Obligations

Recently, the Federal Government tabled, for first reading, Bill C-86 that, assuming it passes in its current form, will (i) significantly alter federally regulated employers' obligations under the Canada Labour Code and (ii) create a new federal pay equity regime.

Below is a flavour of the key changes included in Bill-C-86.

Proposed Canada Labour Code Amendments

  • Increase in the minimum age of employment from 17 to 18 years of age.
  • Other than employees who are terminated for just cause or who receive notice under the new group termination provision discussed below, individual termination notice (or pay in lieu) will now be based on a sliding scale, taking into account length of service:

    • At least 3 months of continuous service = 2 weeks' notice;
    • At least 3 years of continuous service = 3 weeks' notice;
    • At least 4 years of continuous service = 4 weeks' notice;
    • At least 5 years of continuous service = 5 weeks' notice;
    • At least 6 years of continuous service = 6 weeks' notice;
    • At least 7 years of continuous service 7 weeks' notice; and,
    • At least 8 years of continuous service = 8 weeks' notice.
  • In addition to the requirement to provide 16 weeks' notice to the Minister that there has been a group termination, employers must now also provide at least eight (8) weeks' notice of termination (or pay in lieu of notice, or a combination of notice and pay in lieu) to all employees defined as "redundant employees" under the Code.
  • Authority for adjudicators, in unjust dismissal complaints, to dismiss or suspend the complaint, including, where the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith or where the substance of the complaint has been dealt with in another proceeding.
  • Employers must provide at least 96 hours' notice to institute a schedule. Failure to do so permits an employee to refuse to work any shift within the 96 hour notice period, with reprisal protection. Provision not applicable (i) in emergency, (ii) where a collective agreement "specifies an alternate time frame for providing the work schedule or provides that this section does not apply to those employees," or (iii) the change is employee requested under Flexible Work Arrangements provisions.
  • A 30 minute unpaid meal break every five consecutive hours. Where employee required to be available during the break, it becomes a paid break. Provision for postponement/cancellation of the break in limited circumstances (emergency).
  • A minimum of eight hours between shifts (not applicable in emergency).
  • Requirement to provide employees with unpaid breaks for medical reasons, or as necessary to permit a nursing employee to nurse or express breast milk. Such obligations likely fall within many employers' accommodation programs under human rights law. Now, in addition, they are statutorily required by the Code.
  • Introduction of five (5) personal leave days, the first three (3) of which are paid (after three (3) months of continuous employment) and the remaining two (2) unpaid. The personal leave days can be used for (i) illness or injury, (ii) responsibilities related to the health or care of family members or the education of family members under 18 years old, (iii) dealing with an urgent concern of the employee or family member, and (iv) attending a citizenship ceremony.
  • Rename the current Sick Leave entitlement in the Code to "Medical Leave" making it applicable not only to illness or injury but to (i) medical appointments during working hours and (ii) organ or tissue donation. The duration of the leave entitlement continues to be 17-weeks. Not surprisingly, employers cannot discipline employees who take or plan to take a Medical Leave and are prohibited from "taking such an intention or absence into account in any decision to promote or train the employee."
  • Previously, the Federal Government created a Leave for Victims of Family Violence, that provided 10 days of unpaid leave. Bill C-86 makes the first five days of a Leave for Victims of Family Violence a paid leave, provided the employee has three months of continuous employment.
  • Increased vacation entitlement:

    • After one year, 2 weeks' vacation (and 4% vacation pay);
    • After five years, 3 weeks' vacation (and 6% vacation pay); and
    • After 10 years, 4 weeks' vacation (and 8% vacation pay).

    Where a contract is lost on a retendering and the employee is retained by the new contractor, service with the previous contractor applies.

  • Elimination of the exclusion from having to pay holiday pay on holidays that fall within the first thirty (30) days of an employee's employment.
  • Temporary help agencies are prohibited from paying their employees a lower wage rate than the rate that their client pays to its employees, where the temporary help agency employee:

    • Works in the same location;
    • Performs substantially the same kind of work;
    • Is required to exercise the substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility; and,
    • Does so under the similar working conditions.

    Temporary help agency employers do not have to increase their employee's wage rate if the difference between their wages is a result of seniority, merit or the quantity or quality of the employee's production.

    There are also new proposed restrictions on charging employees a fee to become an employee, to be assigned work or to complete an assignment or to establish an employment relationship with a client. Temporary help agency employees will soon be prohibited from preventing their employees from being employed by a client if the employee's first assignment was more than six (6) months before the employment relationship with the client was created.

New Pay Equity Act

Purpose: to address "the systemic gender-based discrimination in the compensation practices and systems of employers . . . experienced by employees who occupy positions in predominantly female job classes so that they receive equal compensation for work of equal value..."

  • Applies to federal employers with more than 10 employees;
  • Must establish a pay equity plan; and,
  • Creates a Pay Equity Commissioner to monitor implementation of and ensure compliance with the new Act and provide education to employers and employees about rights and obligations under the new Act.

Takeaways for Employers

The changes proposed in Bill C-86 are many and far reaching. Although not yet law, federally regulated employers would do well to begin, now, to consider how these changes will impact the operation of their businesses and what the cost implications will be. Failure to begin preparing for these changes now, may leave some federal employers playing catch up when Bill C-86 is eventually passed by Parliament and proclaimed in force and could lead to consequences under the Canada Labour Code or the new Pay Equity Act.

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

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

J. Najeeb Hassan
Events from this Firm
7 Feb 2019, Seminar, Vancouver, Canada

Recreational cannabis is legal – now what? In this seminar we will discuss impacts of the law to date, workplace impairment policies, and dealing with employees who are authorized to use medical marijuana.

28 Feb 2019, Workshop, Vancouver, Canada

A fair and thorough workplace investigation paves the way for a successful result at arbitration, trial, or hearing.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
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
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
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 (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

To Use 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.


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.


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