From workplace harassment to accessibility and protection of personal information in the private sector, the rights of employees are an increasingly greater focus at both federal and provincial government levels. As always, employers must keep pace with Canada’s expanding employment and labour laws and continuous amendments.
Below are key highlights of recent legislative changes in Canada that both provincially and federally regulated employers should be aware of:
The Canada Labour Code was amended on September 30, 2021, to introduce the new federal statutory holiday “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” and increase the minimum wage to $15 for federally regulated workplaces. Recent amendments to the code also include the newly enacted Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, which address specific policy requirements, risk assessments and annual reporting.
New legislation and regulations are now in force for federally regulated employers in the areas of pay equity and accessibility. Under Canada’s Pay Equity Act, employers with 100 or more employees (or 10 to 99 unionized employees) must develop a pay equity plan by August 31, 2024. Under the Accessible Canada Act, employers with 100 or more employees must have an accessibility plan in place by June 1, 2023.
In British Columbia, the Employment Standards Act was amended as of January 1, 2022, to allow employees up to five paid sick days, the most in any province.
In Ontario, Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, 2021, and Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022, received royal assent on December 2, 2021, and April 11, 2022, respectively. Among other changes, both bills introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 and requiring employers with 25 or more employees to develop policies on disconnecting from work by June 2, 2022, and on electronic monitoring of employees by October 11, 2022.
On September 21, 2021, Quebec’s National Assembly passed Bill 64, An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information. Among other requirements, employers must now adopt a privacy officer and report privacy breaches to the Access to Information Commission, both by September 2022.
Have more than five minutes? Contact any member of our Employment & Labour group to learn more or view our recent webinar on this topic.
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