Canada: Overhaul Of The Canada Labour Code And The Implications For Federally-Regulated Employers

Last Updated: April 17 2019
Article by Janna Young and Ashton Butler

Federally-regulated employers, including airlines, telecommunications companies, railways and banks will be affected by the upcoming amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the "Code"). Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, No. 2 ("Bill C-86") will bring sweeping changes and increased protections to federally-regulated employees to the Code as early as September 1, 2019.

A summary of the significant changes is provided below.


New Leaves

Bill C-86 introduces four new types of leaves, the effective dates for such amendments have not yet been determined.

1. Court or Jury Duty Leave

Employees will be entitled to a leave of absence to attend court to act as a witness in a proceeding, act as a juror in a proceeding, or participate in a jury selection process. The Code does not presently allow for a leave related to court or jury duties.

2. Family Violence Leave

Every employee who is a victim of family violence will be entitled to 10 days of Family Violence Leave. If the employee has continuously worked for the employer for three months, the employee will be entitled to paid leave for the first five days of the leave.

3. Personal Leave

Every employee will be entitled to five days of Personal Leave per calendar year for the following:

  • treating the employee's illness or injury;
  • carrying out responsibilities related to the health or care of any of the employee's family members;
  • carrying out responsibilities related to the education of any of the employee's family members who are less than 18 years of age;
  • addressing any urgent matter concerning the employee or the employee's family members;
  • attending the employee's citizenship ceremony under the Citizen Act; and
  • any other reason prescribed by regulation.

If the employee has continuously worked for the employer for three months, the employee will be entitled to paid leave for the first three days of the leave.

4. Traditional Aboriginal Practices Leave

Every employee who is an Aboriginal person (meaning Indian, Inuit or Métis) and who has been continuously employed for three months will be entitled to a leave of up to five days in every calendar year, in order to engage in traditional Aboriginal practices, including hunting, fishing, harvesting and any practice prescribed by regulation.

Changes to Existing Leaves

Bill C-86 also amends the following existing leaves under the Code:

1. Shared Parental Leave

Where two parents who are employees share Parental Leave in respect of the same birth or adoption, the aggregate amount of Parental Leave will increase from 63 weeks to 71 weeks (the maximum Parental Leave shared between both parents). The aggregate amount of Maternity Leave and Parental Leave that may be taken by two employees in respect of the same birth will increase from 78 weeks to 86 weeks.

At this time, the date that the amendment will come into force is not yet known.

2. Medical Leave

"Sick Leave" is renamed "Medical Leave" and the amendment removes the current three month continuous service requirement for Sick Leave/Medical Leave eligibility. Employees will be entitled to a Medical Leave of up to 17 weeks as a result of personal illness or injury, organ or tissue donation, or medical appointments during working hours.

This amendment will come into effect on September 1, 2019.

3. Minimum Length of Service Requirements Eliminated for Certain Leaves

Bill C-86 will eliminate the current six month minimum length of continuous service requirement in order to be entitled to Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, Leave Related to Critical Illness, or Leave Related to Death or Disappearance of a Child.

This amendment will come into effect on September 1, 2019.


Employees will be entitled to pay equity between full-time employees that perform substantially the same kind of work as other employees with a different employment status (for example, part-time, casual, or seasonal employees). The amendments will allow exceptions for differential pay between employees of different status due to:

  • seniority;
  • merit;
  • the quantity or quality of each employee's production; or
  • any other criteria that may be prescribed by regulation.

An employer is prohibited from reducing an employee's rate of wages in order to comply.

At this time, the date that the amendment will come into force is not yet known.


Employees are currently entitled to certain rest periods and breaks. As of September 1, 2019, employees will be entitled to:

  • an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes during every period of five consecutive hours of work. If the employer requires the employee to be at their disposal during the break period, the employee must be paid for the break;
  • a rest period of at least eight consecutive hours between work periods or shifts; and
  • medical or nursing breaks that are necessary for medical reasons or for nursing or expressing breast milk.


Long-term employees will be entitled to more vacation days as of September 1, 2019:

  • two weeks' vacation (or 4% vacation pay) after of one year of continuous employment with the same employer;
  • three weeks' vacation (or 6% vacation pay) after five years of continuous employment with the same employer; and
  • four weeks' vacation (or 8% vacation pay) after 10 years of employment with the same employer.


Currently, the Code requires employees to work for an employer for 30 days before the employee will be eligible for general statutory holiday pay. As of September 1, 2019, there will no longer be a 30-day waiting period for statutory holiday pay.


Notice of Individual Terminations

Currently, the Code entitles employees to two weeks' required notice by the employer for termination any time after the employee has been employed continuously with the employer for more than three months. The Bill C-86 amendments will entitle employees to the following notice periods:

  • 2 weeks' notice after 3 months of continuous employment;
  • 3 weeks' notice after 3 years of continuous employment;
  • 4 weeks' notice after 4 years of continuous employment;
  • 5 weeks' notice after 5 years of continuous employment;
  • 6 weeks' notice after 6 years of continuous employment;
  • 7 weeks' notice after 7 years of continuous employment; and
  • 8 weeks' notice after 8 years of continuous employment.

The above notice periods are not applicable to employees who are terminated for just cause or as part of a group termination of employment. At this time, the date that the amendment will come into force is not yet known.

Group Terminations

Specific provisions govern group terminations, which are terminations of 50 or more employees either simultaneously or within any four week period.

The amendments (effective date not yet known) will implement changes that will supplement the current requirement to give 16 weeks' written notice to the Minister of Labour. In addition to giving the Minister of Labour 16 weeks' written notice, an employer must provide immediate notification of the group termination to any trade union representing the employees affected by the group termination, or if the employees are not represented by a trade union, the group of affected employees must be given notice immediately.

Each employee whose employment is terminated during the 16 week group notice period is entitled to individual notice of at least eight weeks . The eight weeks' notice can be provided by way of written notice, pay in lieu of notice, or any combination of notice and pay in lieu of notice.


Bill C-86 will expand the Canadian Industrial Relation Board's (the "CIRB") powers with respect to unjust dismissal complaints, and will provide the CIRB the power to summarily dismiss unjust dismissal complaints. The CIRB will also be given the power to reject a complaint, in whole or in part, if:

  • the complaint is not within its jurisdiction;
  • the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith;
  • the complaint has been settled in writing between the employer and the employee;
  • there are other means available to the employee to resolve the subject matter of the complaint that the CIRB considers should be pursued;
  • the subject matter of the complaint has been adequately dealt with through recourse obtained before a court, tribunal, arbitrator or adjudicator;
  • in respect of a complaint made by an employee who is subject to a collective agreement, the collective agreement covers the subject matter of the complaint and provides a third party dispute resolution process; or
  • if the complaint was already suspended by the CIRB and the measures specified in the notice were not taken within the specified time period.

At this time, the date that the amendment will come into force is not yet known.


The upcoming amendments will result in greater obligations for federally-regulated employers. Although the first of the amendments will not come into force until September 1, 2019, employers should review their current policies and practices to ensure they will be compliant with the changes. This article provides a summary of the significant amendments, however, it does not canvass every amendment. 

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP
Roper Greyell LLP – Employment and Labour Lawyers
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP
Roper Greyell LLP – Employment and Labour Lawyers
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions