Sweeping amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the "Code") came into force on September 1, 2019. Just prior to this, on August 30, 2019, the federal government published a set of interpretations, policies, and guidelines (IPGs) in relation to these amendments which will be of interest to employers in the transportation industry.

In relation to our recent Communiqué on the subject, employers in the transportation industry should take particular notice of 802-1-IPG-101. This IPG sets out the scope of application of the Code's new hours of work and scheduling provisions. The federal government has indicated that forthcoming regulations will either exempt certain classes of employees from the relevant provisions of the legislation or modify the way in which they apply to those employees.

802-1-IPG-101 provides that, until the new regulations come into force, employers of employees of particular job classes "may carry on business as usual" with respect to one or several of the new provisions surrounding breaks, rest periods, shift changes, and scheduling. This IPG impacts employers in the following sectors:

  • Road transportation;
  • Rail;
  • Marine transportation;
  • Longshoring;
  • Air transportation and airports;
  • Telecommunications;
  • Couriers;
  • Broadcasting; and
  • Grain elevators and millers.

Employers in these industries should refer to the IPG to determine whether they have any employees with job titles captured by this IPG.

Employees may still file a complaint asserting that a contravention of the Code has occurred. However, if the complaint relates to a job title and Code provision captured by the IPG, the government has indicated that it will "work with the employer while work continues on the development of hours of work exemption and modification regulations."

The federal government also published a variety of other IPGs which are meant to assist with the uniform interpretation and application of particular terms contained in the new legislation. For instance, 802-1-IPG-091 defines what constitutes a "situation that the employer could not have reasonably foreseen" for the purposes of exempting employers from particular break, rest period, scheduling, and notice of shift change requirements under the amended Code. These will be of interest to all federally regulated employers.

We encourage you to contact a member of our team if you or your organization has any questions about your obligations under the Canada Labour Code or the IPGs. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on developments in this area as they are announced.

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.