On February 24, 2022, the Quebec National Assembly adopted and sanctioned Bill 14, An Act to ensure the protection of trainees in the workplace (the "Act"). The Act makes significant changes to the rights of trainees in the workplace, providing them with numerous rights and recourses similar to those provided for in the Act respecting labour standards (the "A.L.S."). The Act will come into force on August 24, 2022.
The Act applies to any person, whether or not they are an employee, who does training in Quebec or outside Quebec with an employer whose residence, domicile, business, head office or office is located in Quebec.
"Training" is defined in the Act as "any job shadowing activity or activity for the acquisition or implementation of skills that is required to obtain a permit to practice issued by a professional order or that is part of a program of studies or training program at the secondary, vocational, college or university level offered by an educational institution and leading to a diploma, certificate or attestation of studies".
Here are the main rights and recourses introduced by the Act.
Statutory General Holidays (sections 8 to 10 of the Act)
The trainee is entitled to the same holidays as those provided for in the A.L.S. When the trainee is required to participate in his or her training on a holiday, he or she is entitled to a compensatory leave of one day which must be taken during the training period with the employer.
Similar to the National Holiday Act, the trainee is also entitled to a holiday on June 24. When this date falls on a Sunday and this day is not normally a day of training for the trainee, the trainee may be absent on June 25. When June 24 falls on a day that is not normally a training day, the trainee is entitled to a compensatory holiday of one day that must be taken during the training period with the employer. Alternatively, as in the National Holiday Act, if the employer's activities, because of their nature, are not interrupted on June 24 and the trainee is required to participate in his or her training, the trainee is entitled to a compensatory holiday of one day to be taken on the business day preceding or following June 24.
Absences (sections 11 to 17 of the Act)
Absences owing to sickness or for family or parental reasons
A trainee may be absent for 10 days per year due to illness, to fulfill obligations relating to the care, health or education of the trainee's child or the child of the trainee's spouse, or because of the state of health of a relative or a person for whom the trainee acts as a caregiver. This leave may be divided into days. Each day may also be divided if the employer agrees.
The trainee must notify the employer of his or her absence as soon as possible. The trainee must take reasonable measures to limit the duration of the absence. The employer may ask the trainee, if the circumstances justify it (particularly because of the duration of the absence) to provide a document attesting to the reasons for the absence.
Death or funerals
A trainee may be absent for 5 days on the occasion of the death or funeral of his or her spouse, child or spouse's child, father, mother, brother or sister.
A trainee may also be absent for one day on the occasion of the death or funeral of a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent or grandchild as well as the father, mother, brother or sister of his or her spouse.
Wedding or civil union
A trainee may be absent for one day on the day of his or her wedding or civil union.
A trainee may also be absent on the day of the wedding or civil union of one of the trainee's children, father, mother, brother, sister or stepchild.
Birth or adoption
A trainee may be absent for 5 days for the birth of his or her child, for the adoption of a child or when a termination of pregnancy occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. This absence must be taken within 15 days following the arrival of the child at the residence of the father or mother or, where applicable, the termination of pregnancy.
A trainee may be absent from her training for a pregnancy-related medical examination or for a pregnancy-related examination by a health care professional.
Psychological harassment (sections 18 to 19 and 26 to 29 of the Act)
With respect to psychological harassment, the trainee benefits from the same protection (and the employer has the same obligations towards him or her) as those provided for in the A.L.S.
The trainee has a recourse equivalent to that provided for in sections 123.6 and following of the A.L.S., with the necessary adaptations. A complaint must be filed with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (the "Commission") within 2 years of the last incidence of offending behaviour.
A complaint of psychological harassment may be made, on behalf of one or more trainees who consent in writing, by a non-profit organization dedicated to the defence of students' rights, a students' association or a students' association alliance.
The Commission may, in such an action, represent a trainee before the Administrative Labour Tribunal (the "Tribunal") if he or she is not a member of a group of employees covered by a certification granted under the Labour Code.
Recourse against prohibited practices (sections 20 to 25 of the Act)
The trainee has a remedy equivalent to that provided in sections 122 and following of A.L.S., with the necessary adaptations. The complaint must be filed with the Commission within 45 days of the challenged practice.
As in the case of the remedy provided for in the A.L.S., if the trainee establishes that he or she has exercised a right provided for in the Act, there is a presumption in his or her favour that the contested measure was taken against him or her because of the exercise of that right. The onus is then on the employer, the educational institution or the professional order, depending on the circumstances, to prove that the sanction or measure taken against the trainee was taken for another just and sufficient cause.
As with a complaint of psychological harassment, a complaint against a prohibited practice may also be made on behalf of a trainee who consents in writing, by a non-profit organization dedicated to the defence of students' rights, a students' association or a students' association alliance.
Again, the Commission may, in such an action, represent a trainee before the Tribunal if he or she is not a member of a group of employees covered by a certification granted under the Labour Code.
Powers of the Tribunal (article 30 de la Loi)
In addition to the powers conferred by the A.L.S., the Labour Code and the Act to establish the Administrative Labour Tribunal, the Tribunal may, "if it concludes that the trainee has been the victim of a prohibited practice or of psychological harassment, render any decision it believes fair and reasonable, taking into account all the circumstances of the matter, such as ordering any person:
(1) to reinstate the trainee in their training, with all their rights and privileges, within the time set by the Tribunal;
(2) to modify the disciplinary, school, college, university or vocational training record of the trainee;
(3) to implement accommodation measures to protect the trainee and limit the impact on their training or to allow them to successfully complete it; or
(4) to comply with any other measure, including a provisional order, intended to safeguard the trainee's rights."
The Act, in conjunction with the adoption of Bill 59, the Act to modernize the occupational health and safety regime, which subjects students who do a training to the Act respecting occupational health and safety and the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases, demonstrates a clear desire on the part of the Quebec legislature to maximize the protection of trainees in workplaces.
For all practical purposes, save for a few exceptions, employers will not be able to treat trainees differently in any way from other employees, as trainees will now have the same legal protection as other employees.
To view the original article click here
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.