On December 17, 2021 the federal government passed Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code. Once it comes into effect, Bill C-3 will amend the Canada Labour Code as follows:

  • extend the period during which an employee may take a leave of absence in the event of the death of a child and provide the employee with a leave of absence in the event of the loss of an unborn child;
  • provide that an employee may earn and take up to 10 days of medical leave of absence with pay in a calendar year, replacing the current entitlement to personal leave for injury or illness (while the other entitlements to personal leave remain); and
  • authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations to modify, in certain circumstances, the provisions respecting medical leave of absence with pay.

On April 28, 2022 the federal government had its first reading of Bill C-19, Budget Implementation Act, 2022  which, if passed will make the following changes to the 10 day paid medical leave created by Bill C-3:

  • employees who complete 30 days of continuous employment with an employer will earn three days of medical leave of absence with pay. Following the 30 days, employees will earn one day of medical leave per one month of continuous employment with the employer;
  • annual entitlement to paid days of medical leave in a calendar year is capped at 10, and each day of medical leave that the employee does not take in a calendar year is to be carried forward to January 1 of the following calendar year (though paid leave days that can be earned in the subsequent year are reduced proportionately);
  • allow the employer to require employees to provide a medical note certifying that the employee was incapable of working for the period of their medical leave if the employee has taken at least five consecutive days of their paid medical leave;
  • limiting the application of the medical leave of absence with pay to employers who have 100 or more employees on the day in which Bill C-19 comes into force, even if the number of employees fall below 100 after that first day; and
  • make section 189 applicable to this provision. Section 189 states that employees who change employers due to lease or transfer of work, under taking or business, or due to a contract being awarded through a retendering process, are deemed to be continuously employed.

It is not yet known when the medical leave of absence entitlements will come into force, but Bill C-19 states that the above amendments will be coming into force no later than December 1, 2022.

Takeaway for Employers

Employers who fall under the Canada Labour Code  and have 100 or more employees should be on notice that employees will be entitled to 10 paid days for medical leave by the end of the year. Federal employers with under 100 employees should note that Bill C-19 allows for the repeal of the 100-employee requirement at a later date and should be aware that the 10 day paid medical leave could apply to them as well.

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