ARTICLE
3 August 2020

Bill 32: Restoring Balance In Alberta's Workplaces Act Passed

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Miller Thomson LLP

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Miller Thomson LLP (“Miller Thomson”) is a national business law firm with approximately 525 lawyers working from 10 offices across Canada. The firm offers a complete range of business law and advocacy services. Miller Thomson works regularly with in-house legal departments and external counsel worldwide to facilitate cross-border and multinational transactions and business needs. Miller Thomson offices are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London, Waterloo Region, Toronto, Vaughan and Montréal.
On July 29, 2020, Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act, 2020, received Royal Assent and became law in Alberta (the "Act").
Canada Employment and HR
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On July 29, 2020, Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act, 2020, received Royal Assent and became law in Alberta (the "Act").

The Act makes a number of significant changes to labour and employment legislation in Alberta, including changes pertaining to:

  • notice of group terminations;
  • the amount of time that an employer has to pay an employee their final pay upon termination of employment;
  • calculation of general holiday pay;
  • permitted deductions from employee earnings;
  • temporary layoffs;
  • hours of work averaging;
  • youth jobs;
  • accumulation of vacation time during a leave of absence;
  • rest periods;
  • the ability to override certain Employment Standards Code provisions in a collective bargaining agreement;
  • union dues and financial disclosure;
  • first contract arbitration;
  • picketing;
  • remedial certification;
  • the reverse onus rule;
  • early renewal of a collective bargaining agreement;
  • consequences of prohibited practices by a union;
  • union disciplinary powers;
  • inclusion of nurse practitioners;
  • certain labour relations rules that are specific to the construction industry;
  • the powers of an arbitrator; and
  • the powers of the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

For more information about these changes, read our July 10, 2020 communique about the introduction of Bill 32.

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will take effect on November 1, 2020, except for three changes that will take effect on August 15, 2020:

  • notice of a group termination;
  • length of temporary layoffs; and
  • flexible rules to apply for variances to the Employment Standards Code.

Most changes to the Labour Relations Code will take effect immediately. The remaining changes, including the following, will take effect upon Proclamation:

  • access to union financial statements/opt-in for union dues;
  • early renewal of collective agreements;
  • rules for secondary picketing;
  • "all-employee" units in the construction sector;
  • building trades of Alberta project agreements;
  • Alberta Labour Relations Board standard of review; and
  • including nurse practitioners in the Labour Relations Code.

This article provides a high-level overview of only some the key changes from Bill 32. To review the Bill in its entirety, see Bill 32.

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.

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