Canada: Federally Regulated Employers: Are You Ready For The Onslaught Of Legislative Change That Will Take Effect September 1?

Last Updated: August 21 2019
Article by Lucas Mapplebeck

Federally regulated employers should be aware that substantial changes to the Canada Labour Code (the "Code") will come into effect at the beginning of next month, on September 1, 2019.

Amendments to the Code were enacted by Bill C-63, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, and Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No 2. These legislative amendments make sweeping changes to the employment standards that apply in workplaces across the federal sector.

To assist federally regulated employers prepare to meet the new and, in many cases, enhanced, employment standards, we have put together a summary of the key changes that will come into effect at the end of the summer:


Employers will be required to provide employees with a minimum of 96 hours' written notice before implementing a work schedule. Employees will have the right to refuse a shift where 96 hours' notice is not provided.

The 96 hour notice requirement will not apply where: (1) a collective agreement overrides notice; (2) there is an unforeseen emergency situation requiring the employee's attendance at work, or; (3) an employee has made a request to alter his or her own schedule as part of the flexible work arrangement changes enacted by Bill C-63 (detailed below).

Advanced notice will also be required when implementing a schedule change. Except for unforeseen emergency situations, employers will be required to provide 24 hours' written notice of any shift change. The notice period is based on the hour when the new or altered shift is scheduled to begin.


The amendments will introduce "time in lieu of overtime". Where the employer and employee enter into such an agreement, in writing, an employee may elect to take 1.5 hours of time off with pay instead of receiving pay for overtime hours worked.

If the employee does not take the time off in lieu within a period of three months, (or a longer period of up to 12 months as may be agreed upon), the employer must pay out any banked time. Payout of banked time is also required if employment is terminated for any reason.

Employees will also have the right to refuse overtime in order to fulfil family responsibilities. Such refusal may only occur if the employee has taken reasonable steps to carry out their family responsibilities by other means prior to refusing. This right of refusal will not apply to overtime that is required to deal with unforeseen emergency situations.

Rest Periods & Break Requirements

Employees will generally be entitled to a minimum of 8 consecutive hours of rest between shifts.

Employees will also be entitled to a 30 minute unpaid break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. If an employer requires an employee to be available to work during his or her break, the employee must be paid for the break.

Employees will also be entitled to unpaid breaks that are necessary for medical reasons, or that are necessary for nursing or expressing breast milk. These breaks are to be unpaid but, otherwise, have no restrictions or limitations regarding time. Employers may request a medical certificate to substantiate an employee's request for an unpaid medical break.

Flexible Work Arrangements

The Code will now permit employees to request changes to the terms and conditions of their employment (except where governed by a collective agreement), and will require employers to respond to any such requests.

Employees who have completed 6 months of continuous employment may request a change to their:

  • hours of work;
  • work schedule;
  • work location; or
  • any other term and condition as may be prescribed by regulation.

The employee's request must be in writing and must include the prescribed information. No later than 30 days after receiving the request, the employer must provide written notice of its decision to the employee. Employers may: (1) grant the request; (2) provide an alternative option to the employee; or (3) refuse the request. Refusals must be based on one of the following grounds:

  • the requested change would result in additional costs that would be a burden on the employer;
  • the requested change would have a detrimental impact on the quality or quantity of work within the employer's industrial establishment, on the ability to meet customer demand or on any other aspect of performance within that industrial establishment;
  • the employer is unable to reorganize work among existing employees or to recruit additional employees in order to manage the requested change;
  • there would be insufficient work available for the employee if the requested change was granted; or
  • any other ground prescribed by regulation.

New Leaves of Absence

The Code amendments will introduce a number of new leaves of absences. The new leaves are as follows:

Personal Leave

Employees will be entitled to take 5 days per year as personal leave, with the first 3 days paid if the employee has completed 3 consecutive months of continuous employment. Employees can take personal leave for the following reasons:

  • treating personal illness or injury;
  • carrying out responsibilities related to the health or care of any of their family members;
  • carrying out responsibilities related to the education of any of their family members who are under 18 years of age;
  • addressing any urgent matter concerning themselves or their family members;
  • attending their citizenship ceremony under the Citizenship Act; and
  • any other reason prescribed by regulation.

Leave for Traditional Aboriginal Practices

Employees will be entitled to take up to 5 unpaid days of leave per year if they are Aboriginal and have completed 3 consecutive months of continuous employment. This new leave must be taken for activity involving traditional Aboriginal practices.

Court or Jury Duty Leave

Employees will be entitled to an unpaid leave of absence to attend court as a witness, juror, or participate in jury selection.

Victims of Family Violence Leave

Employees will be entitled to 10 days of leave per year if they are the victims of family violence, or are the parent of a child who is the victim of family violence. Leave days can be used to:

  • seek medical attention for themselves or their child in respect of a physical or psychological injury or disability;
  • obtain services from an organization which provides services to victims of family violence;
  • obtain psychological or other professional counselling;
  • relocate temporarily or permanently;
  • seek legal or law enforcement assistance or to prepare for, or participate in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding; or
  • take any measures prescribed by regulation.

If the employee has completed 3 consecutive months of continuous employment, the first 5 days of Victims of Family Violence Leave must be paid. The leave can be taken in one or more periods. The employer may require the employee to provide substantiating documentation within 15 days of the employee's return, but only if it is reasonably practicable for the employee to obtain and provide it.

Changes to Existing Leaves of Absence

The Code amendments also include changes to a number of existing leaves of absence. These changes are as follows:

Minimum Service Changes

The Code amendments will eliminate minimum length of service requirements for certain existing leaves, including parental leave, maternity leave, leave related to critical illness, and leave related to death or disappearance.

Employees who are members of the reserve force will be entitled to take a leave of absence for military training and operations after 3 consecutive months of service (instead of after 6 consecutive months).

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave in respect of an immediate family member is increased to 5 days (previously 3 days), with the first 3 days being paid for employees who have accrued at least 3 consecutive months of continuous service. The leave can be taken during the period that begins on the day on which the death occurs and ends 6 weeks after the latest of the days on which any funeral, burial or memorial service occurs. The leave may be taken in one or two periods.

Medical Leave

Sick leave under the Code will be renamed "medical leave". Eligible employees will be entitled to a medical leave of absence of up to 17 weeks, which can be taken on account of personal illness or injury, organ donation or medical appointments during working hours. Where an employee's period of leave exceeds three days, the employer can require a certificate from a health care practitioner. An employee is entitled, on written request, to be informed in writing of every employment, promotion, or training opportunity that arises during a period of medical leave for which the employee is qualified.

Health Care Practitioner

The Code amendments will replace the term "qualified medical practitioner" with "health care practitioner". "Health care practitioner" is a broader category, defined as: "any person lawfully entitled under the laws of a province to provide health services". This change expands the list of professionals who are able to provide medical certificates to substantiate employees' absences from the workplace.

Vacation and Holiday Pay

Employees will be entitled to the following vacation time and vacation pay annually:

  • 2 weeks of vacation after 1 year of employment (with 4% vacation pay);
  • 3 weeks of vacation after 5 consecutive years of employment (with 6% vacation pay); and
  • 4 weeks of vacation after 10 consecutive years of employment (with 8% vacation pay).

The amendments will also eliminate minimum length of service requirements for general holiday pay. As a result, employees will be entitled to pay for general holidays that occur within the first 30 days of their employment.

Deemed Continuity of Employment

Currently, deemed continuity of employment under the Code occurs where a federal work, undertaking or business is transferred from one employer to another through a sale, lease, merger or other applicable transaction.

The Code amendments will change the successorship provisions such that deemed continuity of employment will also apply in the following circumstances:

  • a provincial business becomes a federal work, undertaking or business upon sale, lease, merger or transfer; and
  • a second employer becomes responsible for carrying out a federal work, undertaking or business due to the retendering process.

More Changes on the Horizon...

As if the above changes were not enough for federally regulated employers to assimilate, additional legislative and regulatory change is afoot in the sector. The enactment of new regimes under the Pay Equity Act and Accessible Canada Act are forthcoming, as are regulations that will govern the issue of workplace harassment and violence.

We are monitoring these developments closely and will keep readers abreast of additional changes as they occur.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please 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