Labour Program binder – 2021

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations

A. Mandate of the Minister of Labour

B. Partners and stakeholders

List of abbreviations

AMPs
Administrative Monetary Penalties
ASEAN
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
CAALL
Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation
CAIRP
Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals
CAS
Committee on the Application of Standards
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CCOHS
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
CER
Canada Energy Regulator
CFA
Committee on Freedom of Association
CGI
Canada Gazette, Part I
CGII
Canada Gazette, Part II
CHRA
Canadian Human Rights Act
CHRC
Canadian Human Rights Commission
CILAS
Centro de investigación laboral y asesoría syndical
CIRB
Canada Industrial Relations Board
CLCAs
Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements
Code
Canada Labour Code
COHSR
Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
CPTPP
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
CSPS
Canada School of Public Service
CUSMA
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement
DPRDP
Dispute Prevention and Relationship Development Program
EEA
Employment Equity Act
EEAA
Employment Equity Achievement Awards
EPIC
Equal Pay International Coalition
ESDC
Employment and Social Development Canada
EU
European Union
FCP
Federal Contractors Program
FETCO
Federally Regulated Employers-Transportation and Communications
FMCS
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
FPSLREB
Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board
FPT
Federal-Provincial-Territorial
FRP
Forward Regulatory Plan
FTA
Free Trade Agreements
FWCS
Federal Workers’ Compensation Service
GECA
Government Employees’ Compensation Act
HOCE
Head of Compliance and Enforcement
IACML
Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour
ILC
International Labour Conference
ILO
International Labour Organization
IMEC
Industrialized Market Economy Countries
IPG
Interpretation Policy Guideline
ISSA
International Social Security Association
ITL
International Trade and Labour
LEEP
Legislated Employment Equity Program
LES
Locally engaged staff
LMA
Labour Market Availability
LS
Labour standards
LTD
Long-term disability
MOHSR
Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
MOU
Memorandum of Understanding
MP
Member of Parliament
NIOSH
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NSHA
Non-smokers’ Health Act
NSHR
Nonsmokers’ Health Regulations
OBTOHSR
On Board Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OGOSHR
Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations
OHS
Occupational health and safety
PAHO
Pan-American Health Organization
PEA
Pay Equity Act
PSEA
Public Service Employment Act
PESRA
Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act
PTs
Provinces and territories
RCMP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RIRSD
Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination
RRLM
Rapid Response Labour Mechanism
SDIR
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
SGAs
Self-Government Agreements
TC
Transport Canada
WCBs
Workers’ Compensation Boards
WEPP
Wage Earner Protection Program
WEPPA
Wage Earner Protection Program Act
WORBE
Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity
WPHVP
Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention

A. Mandate of the Minister of Labour

Labour mandate

Overview

Federal mandate

The core mandate of the Minister of Labour is to promote safe, healthy, fair and inclusive work conditions and cooperative workplace relations in:

In some circumstances, the Minister of Labour’s responsibilities also extend to parts of the federal public sector:

The Minister of Labour’s responsibilities also extend to private-sector firms and municipal governments in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The key pieces of legislation underpinning the Minister of Labour’s mandate are:

National mandate

Given that responsibility for labour matters is divided under the Canadian constitution, the Minister of Labour works with the provinces and territories to foster cooperation and coherence on labour issues that affect all Canadian workplaces, workers and employers. In addition, the Labour Program supports the promotion of safe, fair, stable and productive workplaces in Indigenous communities where federal labour laws may apply depending on the nature of employers’ activities.

International mandate

The Minister of Labour manages Canada’s international labour affairs. The Minister plays an important role in the development and realization of Canada’s foreign and trade policy objectives by strengthening respect for internationally recognized labour standards and human rights.

Portfolio organizations

The Minister of Labour’s portfolio includes the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). The CIRB’s mandate is to:

The CCOHS’ mandate is to promote workplace health and safety and the physical and mental health of working people in Canada, which it achieves through the provision of:

Partners and stakeholders

A key element in delivering the Labour mandate is engagement with employer and union representatives. The federal government has traditionally been able to create a high degree of consensus with respect to labour laws and policies through such engagement. This has played an important role in ensuring stable and healthy labour relations in Canada’s federally regulated industries. In addition, the Labour Program engages with non-governmental organizations and experts on key mandate priorities to:

In carrying out the Labour mandate, the Minister of Labour has an opportunity to contribute to:

Federal mandate

Overview

The mandate of the Minister of Labour is to promote safe, healthy, fair and inclusive work conditions and cooperative workplace relations in federal private-sector industries. In some cases, this mandate applies to the federal public service and other federal establishments. This is accomplished through the development and administration of labour-related legislation and policies designed to regulate the employment relationship and improve the work environment for the benefit of:

Key areas of responsibility under the federal labour mandate are:

Federal jurisdiction

Under the Canadian Constitution, responsibility for labour matters is divided between the federal government and the provinces and territories. Most of the legislation for which the federal Minister of Labour is responsible applies to the following sectors:

There are approximately 18,500 employers in these sectors that together employ 955,000 employees (or 6.2% of the Canadian workforce). The vast majority (87%) of these work in medium- to large-size firms (in other words those with 100 or more employees).

The enterprises and employees that fall under the Minister of Labour’s mandate make a vital contribution to Canada’s economy and the well-being of Canadians. For example, in 2019, the federal private sector and Crown corporations alone generated direct economic activity accounting for about 9%, or $207 billion, of Canada’s total economic output (Gross Domestic Product). The critical infrastructure services provided by employers in these sectors, such as banking, transportation and telecommunications, is essential for the well-being of Canadians through the support they provide to the rest of the Canadian economy. For example, natural resource and agriculture producers depend on the ports and the rail companies to export their products. Retail firms depend on the ports and rail and trucking companies to import goods, either from overseas or from the U.S. or Mexico.

Detailed notes on each area of responsibility of the mandate are provided. Some legislation for which the Minister of Labour is responsible covers a larger or smaller number of enterprises and employees:

Industrial relations

Part I of the Canada Labour Code (Code) is the legislative framework governing workplace relations and collective bargaining for private-sector employers and trade unions under federal jurisdiction. Part I also applies to private-sector and municipal employers and employees in Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

In 2019, approximately 992,000 employees (or 6.2% of all Canadian employees) were employed in enterprises subject to Part I. About 35% of these workers were covered by a collective agreement.

The Minister of Labour (Minister) is responsible to Parliament for the administration of the Code. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) of the Labour Program administers the dispute resolution provisions of the Code. The Code also establishes the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and lays out its powers and duties. The CIRB is an independent tribunal. Its mandate includes determining:

The CIRB’s mandate also includes the adjudication of certain other matters (for example, claims by non-unionized employees about unfair dismissal).

The Code sets out the following general framework for collective bargaining in the federally regulated private sector:

Part I of the Code includes other important provisions concerning:

The Labour Program’s FMCS offers employers and unions dispute resolution assistance through the services of conciliation and mediation officers. These officers assist the parties in reaching a collective agreement. During fiscal year 2019 to 2020, conciliation and mediation officers dealt with 210 collective bargaining disputes. 93% of all disputes that were referred to FMCS (and settled in 2019 to 2020) were resolved without a work stoppage. By comparison, during fiscal year 2020 to 2021, FMCS officers dealt with 146 disputes and 96% of those settled that year were resolved without a work stoppage.

Conciliation and mediation officers also offer dispute prevention and relationship development services. The goal is to help employers and unions build and maintain constructive working relationships while the collective agreement is in force. During fiscal year 2019 to 2020, the Dispute Prevention and Relationship Development Program (DPRDP) facilitated 109 interventions with a variety of employers and unions for a total of 156 days. Of these, facilitation services represented the highest number of sessions. Training workshops and grievance mediation also made up a significant percentage of services delivered. The main focus of the DPRDP during fiscal year 2020 to 2021 was the development of new training programs, virtual training and online service offerings.

Status of the Artist Act

For people working in the federal cultural sector in Canada (for example, the National Arts Centre, National Film Board and CBC/Radio Canada) the Status of the Artist Act (the Act) protects the rights of artists. The Act guarantees their freedom to associate and authorizes the negotiation of wage scales. Artists cannot be paid below the minimum by a producer bound by the scale. Under the Act, the Minister of Labour may appoint mediators and grievance arbitrators to assist artists, producers and film-makers. The Act applies even if they are independent contractors working on films.

Under the Act, the CIRB is responsible for professional relations between self-employed artists and producers at federally regulated broadcasters, and federal government departments, agencies, and Crown corporations.

Occupational Health and Safety

The purpose of Part II of the Canada Labour Code (Code) is to prevent workplace-related accidents and injuries, including occupational diseases. It applies to private sector employers in the federal jurisdiction, Crown corporations, the federal public service, and as of July 29, 2019, to parliamentary workplaces (for example, the House of Commons and the Senate).

Under the Code, employers have a general obligation to protect the health and safety of employees while at work, as well as non-employees (for example, contractors or members of the public) who are granted access to the workplace. It also places obligations on employees and health and safety committees or representatives to help prevent occupational-related injuries and diseases.

The standards in Part II and its related regulations cover matters such as:

Many specific rules and requirements are also outlined in regulations enabled by Part II of the Code, such as:

Compliance with Part II is achieved using a variety of approaches, including education, counseling, and assurance of voluntary compliance. Part II also establishes offences for non-compliance, and allows for directions, administrative monetary penalties and prosecutions.

Transport Canada (TC) and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) have roles in administering Part II, on behalf of the Labour Program, for persons working in the on-board aviation, marine and rail, and in the oil and gas industries.

The Labour Program’s relationships with TC and CER are governed by Memoranda of Understanding. Certain health and safety services are also administered by the provinces through Memoranda of Understanding in specific sectors (such as uranium mines and mills in Saskatchewan, mining and smelting in Manitoba and nuclear facilities in Ontario).

The Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention (WPHVP) Regulations came into force on January 1, 2021. The new standalone WPHVP Regulations replaced Part XX (Violence Prevention in the Work Place) of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR) and now apply equally to all federally regulated workplaces, including parliamentary workplaces. Employers are required to follow each step of the resolution process within the timelines outlined in the Regulations when responding to all notifications of harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces.

A new Part IV of the Code also came into force on January 1, 2021, allowing the establishment of an administrative monetary penalty regime with the goal of promoting and encouraging compliance with occupational health and safety and labour standards requirements. The regulations designate violations and establish penalty amounts (not exceeding $250,000), and prescribe certain elements related to public naming of employers that have committed a violation.

Provisions allowing the Minister to designate a HOCE came into force on January 1, 2021. The Minister designated the Assistant Deputy Minister, Compliance, Operations and Program Development (ADM-COPD) as the HOCE. The HOCE exercises the powers and performs most of the administrative duties and functions in the Code that used to reside with the Minister. The HOCE has the authority to delegate these powers, duties and functions to any qualified person. This measure is intended to improve client service through improved oversight and consistency in program delivery, greater operational flexibility and specialization, and the optimization of workloads.

These powers, duties and functions are distributed in delegation instruments and were updated to reflect the changes introduced on January 1, 2021. Additional regulatory changes to transition all regulations made pursuant to the Code under the authority of the HOCE came into force on July 1, 2021, and the delegation instruments were again updated to reflect these changes.

On July 7, 2021, Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Medical Devices, COVID-19) came into force and applied to Part XII of the COHSR, Part 10 of the MOHSR, Part XIII of the OGOSHR and Part VIII of the OBTOHSR. The regulatory amendments allow on a temporary basis and in specific situations where medical treatment will be provided, the option for federally regulated employers to provide Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 medical devices for respiratory protection to their employees, in addition to devices certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This amendment will expire upon Health Canada’s Interim Order No. 2 Respecting the Importation and Sale of Medical Devices for Use in Relation to COVID-19 ceasing to have effect. However, the Government of Canada is planning to make additional regulatory changes in the fall of 2021 in order to transition to a new Canadian standard and certification process, equivalent to NIOSH.

Next Steps

On October 1, 2021, amendments to Part XI of the COHSR will come into force. Under Part II of the Code, Part XI of the COHSR prescribes occupational health and safety requirements to prevent accidents and injuries while working in confined spaces. The amendments will accomplish 3 primary goals: mitigate the risk of injury or death by improving the knowledge surrounding, and the identification, of confined spaces, modernize and strengthen provisions and align them with industry practices and standards and finally, add clarity to promote compliance.

There are a number of other regulatory changes that are at varying stages of the regulatory process. Over the coming year, regulatory packages will be brought forward to the Minister for consideration.

Education and awareness-raising activities for employers and employees, as well as training for Health and Safety Officers, will be provided to support the implementation of the new provisions.

Application of Part II of the Canada Labour Code to Parliamentary Employees

Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA) and its application

Employees within the Parliamentary Precinct are subject to the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA).

Part III of the PESRA applies to employees of the Library of Parliament, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Officer, the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer, the Parliamentary Protective Service, the Senate, the House of Commons administration and their members.

It also covers any Member of Parliament (MP) who, in that capacity, employs any person or has the direction or control of staff employed to provide research or associated services to caucus members of a political party represented in Parliament.

MPs are subject to the PESRA and Ministers are subject to Part II of the Code. Where an MP has a dual role as a Minister, they will be subject to the PESRA as an MP, and subject to the Code in their role as a Minister.

MPs are subject to the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations that are pursuant to Part II of the Code, but not to Administrative Monetary Penalties or their Regulations as these are not referenced in the PESRA.

Parliamentary Privilege

An explicit protection of Parliamentary Privilege is included in Part III of the PESRA to ensure that its implementation does not obstruct the Senate or House of Commons from conducting business, nor limit or interfere with their powers, privileges and immunities.

The Mandate of the Labour Program

The Labour Program is responsible for protecting the rights and well-being of employees in federally regulated workplaces through the enforcement of the occupational health and safety provisions of the Code.

Role of the Speakers of the House and Senate

The Minister has the obligation to notify the Speaker of the Senate or the House of Commons, or both in certain situations. This activity would be undertaken by the Deputy Minister of Labour when the situation involves the Senate or an MP work place, in order to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest.

The Speaker or Speakers must be notified if the Labour Program:

The Speaker or Speakers must also be notified if the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB):

Additionally, if notified of an appeal before the FPSLREB, the Speaker or Speakers may request a copy of any document that is filed with the Board and present evidence and make representations in relation to that appeal.

Role of Members of Parliament

Each Member of Parliament (MP) is considered an individual employer per the definitions of an employer in Part III of the PESRA.

As such, each MP is responsible for protecting the occupational health and safety of their employees, putting in place a health and safety representative or committee for each of their workplaces, providing their staff with required training, and establishing the necessary policies for their workplaces. Many requirements of the Code are performance-based rather than prescriptive, which allows employers to choose a way to comply that best suits their workplace.

Senators are represented by the Senate Administration as a single employer.

Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 is legislation aimed at ensuring that federally regulated workplaces, and Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and violence. The Bill received Royal Assent on October 25, 2018, and the legislation and associated Work Place Harassment and Violence Regulations (the Regulations) came into force on January 1, 2021.

The new Regulations apply to occurrences that happened on or after January 1, 2021, or of which the employer first became aware of on or after January 1, 2021.

In situations where the employer first became aware of an alleged occurrence of harassment or violence before January 1, 2021, the resolution provisions in the regulations that were in force at the time, namely Part XX (Violence Prevention in the Workplace) of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, continue to apply.

Starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the Government of Canada has committed $34.9 million over 5 years to support the implementation of Bill C-65. This includes $7.4 million annually, of which $3.5 million annually is dedicated to grants and contributions through the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund. The remaining funding has been used to develop training programs for labour inspectors, create an awareness campaign, provide educational materials and tools to workplace parties, hire additional labour investigators, put in place an outreach hub accessible through a 1-800 number and support regulatory development and enforcement activities.

The new Harassment and Violence Prevention regime:

Employer obligations

Under the Regulations, employers have key obligations including:

As of July 29, 2019, Part II of the Canada Labour Code (Code) was extended to apply to parliamentary workplaces (for example, House of Commons, Senate, Member of Parliament constituency offices); Bill C-65 enables the application of Part II of the Code and its pursuant regulations, including the new Work Place Harassment and Violence Regulations, to parliamentary employers with some exceptions related to the Code:

The Labour Program worked with parliamentary workplaces to support implementation and compliance with Bill C-65 and the Regulations.

Tools and resources

The Labour Program worked closely with stakeholders to develop and disseminate a series of tools and resources to assist all federally regulated employers with the implementation of the Bill and Regulations.

The tools and resources include:

The Labour Program also worked closely with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to establish a Roster of Investigators (the Roster). The Roster serves as an online repository of qualified, professional investigators who may be selected by employers or their designated recipients to investigate unresolved occurrences of workplace harassment and violence. Developed in consultation with a tripartite expert group of federally regulated employers and labour representatives, the Roster supports the Regulations and its requirement to provide a list of persons whom the CCOHS identifies as having the knowledge, training and experience to act as investigators.

The Harassment and Violence Prevention Hub, already established within the Labour Program and consisting of a team of specialists available at the Labour Program OHS toll-free number, provides support to employers and employees on their rights and obligations under the new legislation.

As well, in collaboration with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), self-paced online training courses were created for employees, managers and committees/representatives, and designated recipients and employers. The total number of registrations between January 1 and August 10, 2021, is approximately 200,000.

Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund 

The Labour Program’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund delivers $3.5 million funding annually to partner organizations to support workplaces in implementing Bill C-65 and the associated Regulations. This funding is provided to organizations to co-develop sector-specific tools and resources that address harassment and violence in the workplace and help guide culture change around these issues. Approaches include behavioural changes, education and guidance, and mandatory training. These projects will help protect employees from harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces.

Current Initiatives

There are currently 7 projects supported by the Fund for a variety of workplaces across Canada, including workplaces in First Nations communities and in the marine, trucking, banking and performing arts sectors. The organizations that are receiving funding include:

Further information on the projects can be found on the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund’s webpage.

Labour Standards

Part III of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) establishes the conditions of work and provides protection for employees in the federally regulated private sector and most federal Crown corporations. Part III of the Code does not apply to the federal public service or employees of Parliament.

Employers have an obligation to provide the minimum labour standards protection set out in Part III of the Code, which covers matters such as:

Employers are also prohibited from taking any disciplinary actions against an employee because of the employee’s genetic test results, or because the employee refused to take a genetic test or disclose the results. Employees may file complaints with the Labour Program if the employer collected or used the genetic test results without the employee’s written consent.

Complaints related to third-party disclosure of genetic testing results, are filed with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or with the provincial Privacy Commissioner in the province in which the employee resides.

Part III of the Code also provides for different types of leave, generally without pay:

* The protected leaves generally align with Employment Insurance special benefits and the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime.

** The protected leaves (partly for missing children) align with the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime.

Recent and upcoming changes to labour standards

The following minimum labour standards were introduced as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (BIA 2018), which received Royal Assent in December of 2018. Regulations are required in order to implement these changes. Once developed, regulatory packages will be brought forward to the Minister of Labour (the Minister) for review and approval.

In addition, regulations are required in support of certain new hours of work provisions, which came into force on September 1, 2019, including modifications of the rules and exemptions of certain classes of employees in various industries. This regulatory work has proceeded in 2 phases. Final Phase I regulations respecting the road transportation, postal and courier, marine and grain sectors were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on September 1, 2021 and will come into force on February 1, 2022. Development of proposed Phase II regulations respecting the air, rail, telecommunications and broadcasting and banking sectors is currently underway. A regulatory package will be brought forward to the Minister for review and approval in the fall of 2021.

The Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 (Bill C-30), which received royal assent on June 29, 2021, introduced a number of changes to Part III of the Code that are not yet in force. Most of the changes will come into force on a date or dates established in Bill C-30. The changes include a new federal minimum wage ($15 per hour), which will come into force on December 29, 2021 (date established in the legislation). The new minimum wage will be indexed for inflation, each April 1. If the minimum wage is higher in the province/territory where the employee performs their work, then the provincial/territorial wage will prevail. Bill C-30 will also extend the maximum duration of medical leave from 17 to 27 weeks; these changes align the Code with the changes introduced to the Employment Insurance Act. Additionally, medical leave will be further extended to allow employees to take the leave in order to quarantine. Changes to medical leave will come into force on the same day as the changes to the Employment Insurance sickness benefits,at a date to be determined.

Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance with Part III of the Code is achieved using a variety of approaches, including education and counseling, investigation of complaints, and inspections of workplaces. Additional tools, such as the power to order an internal audit of the employer’s practices and records, were recently added to Part III of the Code.

As of January 1, 2021, enforcement tools were further strengthened with the coming into force of a new Part IV of the Code, and the related Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations (AMP Regulations). Part IV of the Code establishes an administrative monetary penalty system to promote and encourage compliance with occupational health and safety and labour standards requirements. The AMP Regulations designate violations and establish penalty amounts (not exceeding $250,000), and prescribe certain elements related to the public naming of employers that have committed a violation.

An employee who believes that their rights under Part III have not been respected, including in situations of non-payment of wages, non-monetary complaints, unjust dismissal complaints or complaints related to genetic testing, may file a complaint with the Labour Program. In the case of non-payment of wages, a labour affairs officer will investigate and take appropriate action, including wage recovery measures, if a contravention is found. In the case of unjust dismissal complaints and complaints related to genetic testing, a labour affairs officer will endeavor to settle the matter.

Adjudicative functions under Part III of the Code were transferred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) on July 29, 2019. The aim is to simplify employment-related recourse for federally regulated employees and employers by creating a single access point to adjudicate certain employment disputes and provide employees with a new recourse mechanism against employer reprisals under Part III of the Code. At the request of the employee, the CIRB has authority to adjudicate unjust dismissal complaints and complaints related to genetic testing that have not been settled. The CIRB may also hear appeals of notices and orders including payment orders, notices of unfounded complaints, notices of voluntary compliance, compliance orders, and notices of violation (which carry administrative monetary penalty).

Provisions allowing the Minister to designate a Head of Compliance and Enforcement (HOCE) came into force on January 1, 2021. The Minister designated the Assistant Deputy Minister, Compliance, Operations and Program Development (ADM-COPD) as the HOCE, who exercises all the powers and performs all the administrative duties and functions that were previously conferred on inspectors and regional directors, and most of those conferred on the Minister. Although the HOCE is responsible for the day-to-day administration and enforcement of the Code, the Minister retains certain authorities, due to their sensitivity, high-profile nature or potential impact (for example, recommending regulations to the Governor in Council, consenting to prosecutions or granting a waiver in group termination file). The HOCE has authority to delegate to any qualified person any of the powers, duties or functions. Changes to the delegation instruments were made in order to reflect the transfer of powers, duties and functions to the HOCE, as well as to extend delegations to qualified persons in order to allow for operational efficiency. The purpose of these changes is to improve client service through improved oversight and consistency in program delivery, greater operational flexibility and specialization, and the optimization of workloads.

Next Steps

The legislative provisions outlined above that are not yet in force require regulations that are at varying stages of regulatory development. Subject to the Minister’s approval, Phase II regulations respecting modification and exemption from certain hours of work provisions are advanced in their development and ready for pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette as early as fall 2021.

Other regulatory initiatives, including equal treatment, minimum age of employment and reimbursement of work-related expenses, are in the early development phases and subject to the Minister’s approval.

Education and awareness-raising activities for employers and employees, as well as training for labour affairs officers, is being provided to support the implementation of the new provisions.

Administrative Monetary Penalties – Part IV of the Canada Labour Code (the Code)

The new Part IV (Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)) of the Code came into force on January 1, 2021. Part IV of the Code introduced new compliance and enforcement measures, which are intended to promote compliance with occupational health and safety (OHS) and labour standards (LS) requirements, and to supplement and reinforce existing enforcement tools under the Code. AMPs are to deter non-compliance, they are not intended to be overly punitive. They offer an alternative, intermediate measure for cases that do not warrant a prosecution.

The AMP system consists of the legislative and regulatory framework, and operational policy. The Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations (the AMPs Regulations) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on December 23, 2020 and the Interpretation Policy Guideline (IPG) was finalized in collaboration with stakeholders. The IPG sets out national guidelines and defines the scope of Part IV of the Code and the AMPs Regulations. Its objective is to ensure stakeholders understand when an AMP will be issued, who will issue an AMP, and to know where an AMP fits within the compliance and enforcement continuum under Part II and Part III of the Code.

Between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2021, non-compliance with Part II and Part III of the Code has persisted:

In addition to creating OHS and LS risks, ongoing non-compliance could result in some employers gaining a competitive advantage over compliant employers and increasing their profits at their employees’ expense, in addition to impeding the conduct of investigations.

Part IV of the Code prescribes that a Notice of Violation, which carries an AMP, may be issued to any person (including a corporation) or a department. Part IV of the Code applies to any department in, or other portion of, the federal public administration, to which Part II applies. An AMP can be issued to a Minister of the Crown with respect to a Part II violation as an employer of exempt staff covered by the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).

The AMPs Regulations include schedules designating all provisions that specify legal obligations under Part II and Part III of the Code and related regulations as violations, and classify the violations on a scale of increasing severity from “A” to “E”, based on the gravity of the conduct. A transitory provision was included in the AMPs Regulations, which provides that AMPs for Type A (administrative) violations will only be issued on and after January 1, 2022. This will allow stakeholders to adjust to the new Code provisions, and to familiarize themselves with their administrative obligations under the Code.

The AMPs Regulations also specify the base penalty amounts, which vary depending on the classification of the violation, and whether the person or department believed to have committed a violation is an individual, a microbusiness, a small business, or a large business/department. A history of non-compliance may increase the AMP amount. A penalty amount for type A, B, or C violations may be reduced by half if it is paid within 20 days after the Notice of Violation was served. Once a person makes the payment, they will be considered to have committed the violation and all related proceedings are closed.

A person or department that is served with a Notice of Violation may, within 30 days of service, request an administrative review of the penalty, the facts of the alleged violation, or both. An appeal of the review decision may be requested within 15 days from when the review decision is served. Appeals will be heard by the Canada Industrial Relations Board. If the review decision is not appealed, the AMP must be paid as determined by the review decision.

AMPs constitute a debt to the Crown and are recoverable in the Federal Court or any other court of competent jurisdiction (for example, Federal Court of Appeal, Ontario Superior Court). The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for AMP collection activities, in accordance with their role to collect certain Employment and Social Development Canada debts.

To further strengthen compliance with Part II and Part III of the Code and their related regulations, Part IV of the Code allows for the names and information regarding employers who have received an AMP to be published. Information will be published after all review and appeal processes have been exhausted. When there has been a category B, C, D or E violation, employers will be publicly named for a minimum of 2 years after the AMP is paid in full and compliance with the Code is achieved. Any amendments made to either Part II or Part III of the Code and its associated regulations will require changes to the relevant schedule of the AMPs Regulations to reflect any updates to obligations.

Employment equity

Employment Equity Act

The purpose of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) is to achieve equality in the workplace. The EEA seeks to eliminate barriers and correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by 4 designated groups listed in the Act:

The EEA emphasizes that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way. It also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences.

The EEA applies to:

These employers must create equitable workplaces and build a representative workforce with respect to the 4 designated groups by implementing employment equity and reporting on their progress.

Employment equity programs and initiatives

The Minister of Labour is responsible for 2 employment equity programs and 2 employment equity initiatives that are delivered by the Labour Program:

Employment equity programs

Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP)

The LEEP covers federally regulated private-sector employers with 100 or more employees. These employers include:

In 2019, LEEP applied to 595 employersFootnote 2 with 776,997 employees, representing approximately 3.8% of the Canadian workforce.

Employers under LEEP are required to:

Each year, employers covered by LEEP are required to file an employment equity report with the Minister of Labour. This report contains:

Federal Contractors Program (FCP)

The FCP applies to provincially regulated private-sector employers with:

The FCP requires these employers to achieve and maintain a representative workforce with respect to the 4 designated groups.

Once an employer receives an eligible contract from the Government of Canada, they must fulfill the following requirements:

As of July 2021, this program applied to 389 employers covering 540,110 employees.

Employment equity initiatives

Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity (WORBE)

WORBE is a grants and contributions initiative that supports LEEP employers’ efforts to improve designated group representation. Projects funded through WORBE seek to raise awareness, identify barriers and best practices, or test innovative approaches in employment equity.

Introduced in 2014, WORBE provided up to $500,000 per fiscal year to eligible recipients. Projects develop industry-tailored solutions to support industry sectors (such as, transportation) or designated groups (for example, Indigenous peoples) experiencing low representation.

Funding was increased to $2 million in 2021 to 2022 and beginning in 2022 to 2023, funding of $3 million will be made available per fiscal year.

To date, WORBE has funded 16 projects. There are currently 7 projects underway that will conclude in March 2022. Subject to Minister of Labour’s approval, additional projects will be launched in 2022 to 2023 for available funding.

Employment Equity Achievement Awards (EEAA)

The EEAA recognize employment equity achievements and commitment to creating diverse and inclusive Canadian workplaces. The awards are presented to LEEP employers, FCP employers, and individual leaders from these organizations. Usually presented by the Minister at an annual event, the awards cover 4 categories:

For 2019, 4 Employment Equity Champion recipients and 14 private-sector employers were recognized with an award. Due to COVID-19, there was no application process for the awards in 2020 to 2021. Instead, a virtual event in June 2021 to recognize employers and their ongoing efforts in implementing employment equity was hosted.

Pay transparency

Pay transparency is a new initiative aimed at promoting awareness of pay gaps among LEEP employers. It will provide Canadians with user-friendly, comparable online information about pay gaps that affect the 4 designated groups.

The transparency measures require employers to include specific salary data in their annual employment equity reports. The data is used to determine the following aggregated gaps between comparator groups and the 4 designated groups in each workplace:

The proportion of employees who have received bonus pay and overtime pay will also be reported. Employers are required to record new salary data elements and to include aggregated wage gap information in their annual reporting on employment equity on June 1, 2022.

Once employer reports are validated, the information will be presented in a new online application, which is being developed. The individual employer information will be available at the overall level for the organization as well as by employment equity occupational group. It is expected that publicly reporting this data will help shift business culture and expectations towards greater equality. Canada will be the first country to move forward with transparency measures aimed at addressing pay gaps for these 4 designated groups.

Labour program activities

The Labour Program is responsible for assessing compliance with reporting requirements under the Employment Equity Act and administering the FCP. It provides tools and guidance to employers and contractors to assist them in complying with their employment equity obligations.

For LEEP, the Labour Program receives and validates annual reports submitted by LEEP employers. These reports are consolidated and analyzed to form the Minister of Labour’s Employment Equity Act: Annual Report to Parliament. The report highlights the statistical results achieved by LEEP employers in implementing employment equity.

For FCP, the Labour Program conducts compliance assessments to ensure organizations fulfill the terms of their Agreement to Implement Employment Equity. This includes meeting the requirements of the FCP. The Labour Program conducts a first compliance assessment 1 year after an initial goods and services contract is awarded to an eligible organization and then every 3 years thereafter to monitor organizations’ progress in meeting their employment equity goals.

Under the FCP, organizations do not report annually to the Labour Program. Therefore, their statistical results are not consolidated and summarized in the Minister’s annual report to Parliament.

Measuring and reporting progress on employment equity

The most common quantitative indicator of employment equity is the attainment rate. It measures the extent to which the representation of designated groups in the employers’ workforce meets their representation in the Canadian workforce.

The representation of each of the 4 designated groups is compared to their labour market availability (LMA). The LMA is based on Census information obtained from Statistics Canada.

A workforce is considered representative when the representation of designated group members is equal to their LMA. The attainment rate refers to the extent to which representation meets labour market availability by dividing the representation rate by the LMA rate.

Each year the following statistical results are featured in the Minister of Labour’s Employment Equity Act: Annual Report to Parliament along with key highlights:

The 2019Footnote 3 results for overall representation are presented below:

The President of the Treasury Board prepares and submits an annual report to Parliament on employment equity in the federal public service. Separate agencies and other public-sector employers submit their annual reports to the President of the Treasury Board who tables these in Parliament.

Compliance audits

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) conducts compliance audits to verify employer compliance with non-reporting requirements under the EEA.

The Commission conducts 2 types of audits:

In 2019, the Commission completed its first horizontal audit on Indigenous employment in the banking and financial sector. There are currently 2 horizontal audits being conducted:

Employment Equity Act (EEA) Review

Launched in 1986, the EEA aims to remove systemic barriers for individuals in the 4 designated groups under the Act in federally regulated workplaces: women, Indigenous peoplesFootnote 4, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.

Since its introduction, there has been some progress made for the 4 designated groups, but gaps remain. Moreover, a changing environment has highlighted challenges with the current employment equity framework. These include:

In 2020, $3.2 million was allocated to support a task force to review the EEA. The objective of the task force is to study, consult and advise on how a renewed EEA could help ensure that Canada’s economic recovery is equitable, inclusive and fair. The EEA Review Task Force was launched on July 14, 2021. There are 13 members, including the Chair, Professor Adelle Blackett; vice-chairs, Professors Marie-Thérèse Chicha and Dionne Pohler; and the following members: Tao (Tony) Fang; Kari Giddings; Helen Kennedy; Raji Mangat; Fo Niemi; Kami Ramcharan; Sandra Sutter; Josh Vander Vies (on leave of absence); Marie Clarke Walker; and Ruth Williams.

The mandate of the Task Force is to advise the Minister of Labour on how to modernize and strengthen the federal employment equity framework and its supporting programs. A Secretariat, housed within the Labour Program, was established to support the Task Force in fulfilling its activities, such as research, writing and consultations.

The Task Force met in July 2021, however, its work was temporarily put on hold due to the call of the election. Options for next steps with regard to a review of the EEA will be provided.

Federal Workers Compensation Services

The Government Employees’ Compensation Act (GECA) provides benefits to federal public sector employees (or their dependants) who suffer occupational injuries or illnesses arising out of or in connection with their employment, or who are killed while on duty. GECA currently covers approximately 449,330 employees.

The GECA applies to federal departments, agencies, Crown Corporations, and some parliamentary employers (such as the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament). It does not apply to regular members of the Canadian Armed Forces or to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who administer their own workers’ compensation systems.

Through bilateral service agreements, the Labour Program works in partnership with provincial workers’ compensation boards (WCBs) to administer GECA claims.

WCBs adjudicate compensation claims according to the laws and policies of their jurisdiction. In addition to verifying and adjudicating claims, they provide compensation and medical benefits to injured employees.

The Labour Program then pays WCBs for claims costs plus an administrative fee. These costs are then recovered from respective federal employers.

The GECA also establishes a workers’ compensation regime for locally engaged staff (LES) internationally. LES, who are not covered under their local workers’ compensation legislation, may be covered under the GECA. The Labour Program administers and adjudicates those LES compensation claims.

When an injury is caused by a third party, for example, the employee is injured in a vehicle accident, the employee may choose to sue the third party or claim compensation under the GECA. Where the employee chooses compensation under the GECA, the employee transfers their right to sue the third party to the Labour Program. The Labour Program may then attempt to recover claims costs from the third party.

In fiscal year 2020 to 2021, there were over 22,000 active claims and the total claims costs were $193.6 million. This total includes $41 million in administrative costs charged by the WCBs.

The Labour Program also administers the following:

Non-smokers’ health

The Non-smokers’ Health Act (NSHA) and the Non-smokers’ Health Regulations (NSHR) restrict and regulate smoking in work spaces under federal jurisdiction, including the federal private sector, federal Crown corporations, designated federal agencies, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the federal public service and Parliament.

A key objective of the NSHA is to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke in the workplace. To that end, all persons (including employees and members of the public) are prohibited from smoking in any federally regulated work space, including aircraft, trains and ships, except in designated smoking areas. Rooms or areas that may be so designated are specified by regulations and are highly restricted (for example, a living accommodation, a motor vehicle to which only 1 person has access during a shift).

Administration of the NSHA is the joint responsibility of the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Transport. The former is responsible for the Act’s application to federally regulated workplaces and the latter for its application to common federally regulated transportation carriers (in other words, any company that transports goods or people, such as aircraft, public transportation and shipping carriers).

The Minister of Labour is solely responsible for designating inspectors to ensure compliance with the Act. Fines for offences range from $1,000 to $10,000 for employers and $50 to $1,000 for individuals.

Since 2013, there have been a total of 4 complaints under the NSHA. All complaints were investigated and none was determined to be founded.

To date, there have been no prosecutions initiated under the NSHA. There also have been no fines issued since 2010.

There are challenges to enforcement of the NSHA:

In 1992, Parliament passed the Contraventions Act to establish an alternative procedure to the summary conviction process in the Criminal Code. At the time provinces and territories expressed concerns over having to deal with new procedures which differed from their respective offence scheme. Consequently in 1996, the Contraventions Act was amended to permit the drafting of a regulation, the Application of Provincial Laws Regulations, to apply the offence scheme of a province/territory to federal contraventions committed there.

Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, received Royal Assent on May 23, 2018. The amendments subject vaping products used in federally regulated workplaces to the same prohibitions as tobacco use.

Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018. It amended the NSHA to prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in workplaces. The amendments place restrictions on these products in line with the prohibitions on tobacco use.

The definition of work space in the NSHA was also amended to mean any indoor or other enclosed space , or any outdoor space or class of outdoor space designated in the regulations,  in which employees perform the duties of their employment, and includes any adjacent corridor, lobby, stairwell, elevator, cafeteria, washroom or other common area, and any outdoor space or class of outdoor space designated in the regulations, that is frequented by employees during the course of their employment.

Next Steps

Although Health and Safety Officers educate those affected regarding the provision of the Act during routine activities, there is generally no planned proactive work with respect to NHSA.

Proactive pay equity

The right to equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity) is an internationally recognized human right that has been protected under section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) since 1977 for all employees in the federal jurisdiction.

The Pay Equity Act (the Act), which received Royal Assent in December 2018, introduced a proactive approach in line with the 2016 recommendations of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Pay Equity. The Act and supporting regulations came into force on August 31, 2021. Together, they will ensure that workers in federally regulated private and public sector workplaces, including parliamentary workplaces, receive equal pay for work of equal value.

The Act applies to approximately 4,500 employersFootnote 5 with 10 or more employees in the federal public and private sectors, including the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ offices. Additionally, the new part II.1 of the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA) ensures that the pay equity regime also applies to parliamentary workplaces. Altogether, the new regime covers approximately 1.32 million workers.

It is important to note that the Act does not currently apply to Indigenous governing bodies (such as First Nations band councils). They will be excluded from the application of the Act until a date the Governor in Council may, by order, specify. This is to allow sufficient time to engage with First Nations band councils and their employees to ensure that the Act can be applied to them effectively (for example, taking into account cultural sensitivities, capacity issues).

The Act and its regulations require employers or pay equity committees to:

The new regime is administered and enforced by the Pay Equity Commissioner, supported by the Pay Equity Division within the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Ms. Karen Jensen, who was appointed as a full-time member of the CHRC in October 2019, is Canada’s first federal Pay Equity Commissioner.

Pay equity requirements will also be included in the Federal Contractors Program. This program applies to provincially regulated employers receiving goods or services contracts of $1M or more from the Government of Canada and who have 100 or more permanent employees in Canada. The Minister of Labour is responsible for the administration of the Federal Contractors Program.

Next Steps

The Labour Program is working on a second regulatory package that will prescribe important elements related to the enforcement and operation of the Act. It will be brought forward for the Minister of Labour’s approval in the summer 2022 for pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette.

In order to be able to bring the Act to apply to First Nations band councils and their employees, the Labour Program has entered into agreements with both the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) to develop and undertake an engagement strategy with First Nations band councils and their employees, as well as with Indigenous women. The work with NWAC was completed in August 2021 with the submission of their final report. Work with the AFN is ongoing with a view of completing the engagement in 2022.

Finally, the Labour Program is also working to harmonize the new pay equity requirements into the Federal Contractors Program. This harmonization is part of a broader program redesign currently under development.

Labour Program’s regulatory initiatives

The Labour Program’s 2-year Forward Regulatory Plan (FRP) is a publicly available list, published online, of planned or potential regulatory changes that allows stakeholders to engage in regulatory development and plan for future regulatory changes at the earliest opportunity. The Labour Program’s FRP lists a total of 18 regulatory initiatives for 2021 to 2023. Further information is available on the Forward Regulatory Plan website.

The FRP was last updated in August 2021.

Key regulatory initiatives

1) Developing Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations and prescribing other elements under the Pay Equity Act

Regulatory development is underway on a second regulatory package that will be critical to the enforcement and ongoing operation of the Pay Equity Act (PEA). This package will prescribe requirements related to the maintenance of pay equity plans when there are no male comparators and include details related to the operation of the Administrative Monetary Penalty system. Prescribing these elements is essential to ensure that workplaces without male comparators can complete their maintenance exercise and to deter non-compliance with the PEA by allowing the Pay Equity Commissioner to levy financial penalties in instances where other compliance tools have been exhausted.

Consultations with federally regulated employers, employees and their representatives as well as special interest groups are expected to take place in late 2021 upon Minister’s approval. The proposed regulations will be brought forward to the Minister of Labour’s review and approval for a pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I (CGI) in summer 2022.

More information on the PEA and the Pay Equity Regulations is available in the proactive pay equity section of the binder.

2) Exemptions from and Modifications to Hours of Work Provisions Regulations, Phase I and Phase II (Modern Labour Standards)

Regulatory development is underway to create exemptions and modifications for specific classes of employees for certain new hours of work provisions that came into force on September 1, 2019. These provisions include the requirement to provide employees with:

A phased approach to the regulations is being pursued, given that stakeholders in certain sectors could not provide submissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase covers the following sectors: marine, road transportation, postal and courier, and grain.

The proposed regulations for the first phase were pre-published in the CGI on December 19, 2020 for a 60-day public comment period. Final Phase I regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II (CGII) on September 1, 2021. The final regulations will come into force on February 1, 2022.

Given the pandemic, the second phase of regulatory development was delayed until stakeholders in the air, rail, telecommunications, banking and broadcasting sectors were in a better position to re-engage with the Labour Program. Over recent months, the Labour Program has reached out to many stakeholders for responses to specific questions related to scheduling and hours of work provisions. Development of proposed regulations for Phase II is currently underway and a regulatory package will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval in the fall 2021.

3) Amending the Wage Earner Protection Program Regulations to implement Budget 2018 amendments to the Wage Earner Protection Program Act (WEPPA)

A regulatory initiative will:

A regulatory proposal was pre-published in CGI on November 28, 2020 for a 45-day public comment period, which closed on January 15, 2021. Final regulations were published in CGII on September 1, 2021. The regulations will come into force on November 20, 2021.

4) Amending the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Protecting Employees Working in Confined Spaces

The objective of the proposed amendments is to address a number of issues identified in a review of the current confined space regulatory provisions with key federal employers and employee stakeholders. These issues include:

This package was published in CGII on July 7, 2021, and came into force on October 1, 2021, along with consequential amendments to the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations.

5) Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code, Respiratory Protective Devices

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labour Program made an amendment to the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations, and Onboard Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations on a temporary basis in June 2021. The Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made under the Canada Labour Code (Medical Devices, COVID-19) allow workplaces in federal jurisdiction the option to use a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 medical device for respiratory protection, in certain circumstances. These Regulations are temporary and were developed as a short term solution to shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to strengthen the supply chain of devices in Canada now and for years to come, and eliminate the complexity of international certification brought to light through the COVID-19 pandemic, a more permanent solution is required. The proposed amendments to the same 4 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations would provide an alternative option to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified respiratory protective devices when there is a risk of an airborne hazardous substance to protect persons in federally regulated workplaces, on a more permanent basis. Employers would have the option to provide a CSA Group or a NIOSH certified respiratory protective device.

The proposed regulatory amendments are aligned with corresponding approaches across Canadian provinces and territories. The incorporation of the CSA Group Z94.4.1, Performance Standard for Filtering Respirators standard responds to consequences brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic using a coordinated, whole of Government approach.

Consultations with stakeholders to date demonstrates support for this regulatory amendment. A regulatory package will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval in the late fall 2021 to winter 2022 for a potential pre-publication in CGI by winter 2022.

6) Regulatory Initiatives in Support of Change to Part III of the Canada Labour Code, Modern Federal Labour Standards

Initial regulatory consultations were completed in 2019 and additional engagement with stakeholders is planned in fiscal year 2021 to 2022 upon the Minister’s approval. Regulatory packages will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval for a potential pre-publication in CGI as noted below. The regulatory initiatives will cover:

7) Amending the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Addressing Workplace Hazardous Substances (Thermal Stress, Nanoparticles and Ultraviolet Radiation)

The objective of the proposed amendments is to improve the health and safety of federally regulated employees by updating the exposure limits and regulatory requirements. These amendments are adding new requirements related to:

Consultations are planned for fall 2021 upon the Minister’s approval as most recent stakeholder consultation was completed in 2014. A regulatory package will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval in the late fall 2021 to winter 2022 for a potential pre-publication in CGI by winter 2022.

8) Amending Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Provision of Menstrual Products in the Workplace

The objective of the proposed amendments is to require federally regulated employers to provide menstrual products in the workplace to reduce the health risks that may be caused by the lack of access to menstrual products in the workplace. This will be done by amending the sanitation provisions under the various occupational health and safety regulations under Part II of the Code.

An administrative recognition of all-gender toilets (including unisex and gender-neutral toilets) may be included to ensure they count towards the requirements for the number of toilets that must be provided in the workplace per number of employees, as set out in the sanitation provisions of the COHSR.

The Labour Program conducted an expert roundtable in early June 2021, posted an online survey from August 3 to September 7, 2021 to obtain feedback from all Canadians, and expect to conduct further stakeholder consultations in the fall 2021 upon the Minister’s approval. A regulatory package will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval for a potential pre-publication in CGI by spring 2022.

Other Regulatory Initiatives Fall 2021 / Winter 2022

The following regulatory packages will be brought forward for the Minister’s review and approval for a potential pre-publication in CGI or final publication in CGII:

Consequential amendments to the AMPS Regulations may also be required each time new statutory or regulatory requirements are introduced. Schedules I and II of these regulations designate and classify each obligation under Part II and Part III of the Canada Labour Code and the associated regulations, based on the severity of the violation. The classification is used for determining the base amount of the administrative monetary penalty and, in certain circumstances, public naming of the business and the violation(s).

National mandate

Overview

The federal Minister of Labour plays a major role in providing national leadership in the field of labour affairs. The federal Minister is in a unique position to consider labour issues not only from the perspective of the federal jurisdiction, but also from the vantage point of the country as a whole. The provinces and territories are generally open to federal leadership in the labour field provided that jurisdictional boundaries are respected.

Federal, provincial and territorial departments of Labour have collaborated for many decades. They have enacted such a broadly consistent set of labour laws that it is possible to speak meaningfully about a Canadian “model” of labour law. It is in Canada’s interests to maintain and enhance this model. The greater the coordination among jurisdictions, the more consistent are the rights and benefits enjoyed by workers across the country and the more cost-effective it is for businesses to operate across Canada. That said, jurisdictions can benefit from federalism. It creates space for the experimentation of programs and initiatives on a smaller scale, allowing for jurisdictions to learn from each other’s successes.

The Labour Program supports the promotion of safe, fair, stable and productive workplaces in Indigenous communities where federal labour laws may apply depending on the nature of employers’ activities.

The federal Minister of Labour plays a key role in identifying emerging workplace issues and in stimulating discussion with other jurisdictions on ways to address these issues. Through monitoring and providing information and analysis on national labour trends, workplace conditions and innovative practices (for example, wage adjustments, work stoppages, collective agreement provisions), current and emerging workplace issues can be identified and strategies developed for meeting the needs of both employers and workers.

The national mandate of the federal Minister of Labour can extend to the development and administration of national policies where there is a labour dimension. For example, the Labour Program administers the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP), which provides workers across Canada, including those working under provincial or territorial labour laws, with unpaid wages, vacation pay and termination and severance pay in the event of an employer insolvency.

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations and Indigenous Affairs

Provinces and Territories

There is a strong and collegial relationship between the federal government and provinces and territories on a wide variety of labour issues. The exclusive authority that each jurisdiction has over its labour affairs minimizes the potential for conflict. Additionally, there are no financial transfer programs that could be a source of tension between jurisdictions.

A key means by which the federal Minister of Labour engages with the provinces and territories is by co-chairing annual Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meetings of Ministers responsible for Labour. The ministers’ meeting is an opportunity for ministers to discuss issues of mutual interest and consider approaches that address domestic and international workplace matters of importance to Canadians. It is also an opportunity for ministers to develop and maintain good working relationships.

The annual meeting of ministers is normally held in late January or early February when Parliament and most provincial and territorial legislatures are still in recess. If there are labour matters of mutual interest requiring discussion in between annual meetings, FPT ministers may meet on an ad hoc basis. The federal Minister of Labour co-chairs on a permanent basis, while the provincial/territorial co-chair rotates among jurisdictions.

Due to COVID-19, the most recent annual meeting of FPT Ministers responsible for Labour meeting took place via videoconference on March 1, 2021. The topics of discussion included the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, occupational health and safety harmonization, mental health in the workplace, and COVID-19 labour issues. To continue the conversation on COVID-19 labour issues related to the changing nature of work and the new reality of working from home, the federal Minister of Labour hosted an ad hoc virtual follow-up meeting on June 28, 2021.

The Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation (CAALL) is a forum of deputy ministers responsible for labour and serves as the vehicle for preparations for the annual FPT ministers’ meetings, as well as for the follow-up required on issues as directed by ministers. The CAALL has 5 standing committees covering key labour subject areas: International Labour Affairs; Strategic Labour Policy; Occupational Health and Safety; Mediation and Conciliation, and Labour Standards. As of January 2019, the FPT Working Group on Temporary Foreign Workers Protections also reports to CAALL and FPT Ministers responsible for Labour.

Beginning in spring 2020, the federal Labour Program assumed presidency of CAALL for a 2 year term. Accordingly, the federal Deputy Minister serves as CAALL President, while the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Dispute Resolution and International Affairs, Labour Program, serves as Chair of the CAALL Executive Committee (responsible for moving forward the work of the CAALL between deputy ministers’ and ministers’ meetings).

The CAALL Secretariat resides in the federal Labour Program. The Secretariat is responsible for managing the CAALL budget, liaising with and providing support to the various jurisdictions, and leading preparations for the ministers’ meetings as well as for CAALL meetings.

For a diagram of FPT Structures, please see Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Diagram of FPT Structures
Text description of Figure 1

This diagram provides an overview of the FPT Structures of the CAALL. It is arranged as follows:

Level 1: FPT Ministers responsible for Labour

Level 2: Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation (FPT Deputy Ministers responsible for Labour)

Reports to the FPT Deputy Ministers responsible for Labour

  • CAALL Secretariat
  • Executive Committee
    • Standing Committees
      • Mediation and Conciliation
      • Labour Standards
      • Occupational Safety and Health
      • Strategic Labour Policy
      • International Labour Affairs
    • Ad Hoc Committees (as needed)
Indigenous Labour Affairs

Both federal and provincial labour laws apply on Indigenous lands, depending on the nature of the employers’ activities. Recent court rulings have circumscribed the scope of federal jurisdiction related to Indigenous government employees on First Nations reserves to those engaged in administration and governance, thereby reducing the number of Indigenous employees falling under the mandate of the Minister of Labour.

Self-Government Agreements (SGAs) and Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements (CLCAs) set out arrangements for Indigenous groups to govern their internal affairs and assume greater responsibility and control over decision-making that affects their communities. The Labour Program supports the Government of Canada in the negotiation of self-government arrangements regarding labour matters with Indigenous communities and continues to explore new ways to address Indigenous interests in negotiating this area.

Provincial/Territorial Ministers for Labour

There is a great deal of collaboration on a variety of labour issues between the federal Minister of Labour and counterpart provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour. Below is a list (in alphabetical order by province or territory) of the current provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour.

Alberta
The Honourable Tyler Shandro
Minister of Labour and Immigration

British Columbia
The Honourable Harry Bains
Minister of Labour

Manitoba
The Honourable Scott Fielding
Minister of Finance

New Brunswick
The Honourable Trevor Holder
Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour

Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Minister Responsible for Labour
Minister Responsible for Workplace NL

Northwest Territories
The Honourable R. J. Simpson
Government House Leader
Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
Minister of Justice

Nova Scotia
The Honourable Jill S. Balser
Minister of Labour Skills and Immigration
Minister responsible for the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act
Minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Act (except Part II)

Nunavut
The Honourable George Hickes
Minister Responsible for Labour
Minister of Justice
Minister Responsible for Human Rights Tribunal
Minister of Finance
Chair of the Financial Management Board
Minister Responsible for Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission and Licensing Board
Minister Responsible for Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission

Ontario
The Honourable Monte McNaughton
Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

Prince Edward Island
The Honourable Matthew McKay
Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture

Quebec
Jean Boulet
Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity

Saskatchewan
The Honourable Don Morgan
Minister of Crown Investments Corporation
Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety
Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board
Minister responsible for all major Crown corporations, including SaskEnergy, SGI, SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskGaming and SaskWater

Yukon
The Honorable Richard Mostyn
Minister of Community Services
Minister responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board

Workplace information

Part of the Minister of Labour’s national mandate is the collection, analysis and dissemination of data and information on collective bargaining in Canada.

Wage adjustments: Data on major wage settlements for bargaining units with 500 or more employees in the federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions are collected and published each month on Canada.ca. The data, broken down by month, quarter and year, covers all industries in both the public and private sectors. The annual average percentage increase in base-rate wages for the calendar year, resulting from major settlements negotiated in the private-sector in Canada, is used to calculate the salary increases for Members of Parliament, in accordance with the Salaries Act. Wage data are also used by Statistics Canada, the Bank of Canada, the Department of Finance and Treasury Board Secretariat in the context of policy development, monitoring and/or decision making. Among major agreements under Part I of the Canada Labour Code, the average nominal wage increase was 2.0% in 2020.

Work stoppages: data on strikes and lockouts across Canada are collected and updated on a monthly basis and made publicly available under Collective Bargaining Information on Canada.ca. The data includes the number of work stoppages, the number of workers directly involved in the stoppage and the number of person-days not worked. The data is also provided to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the 10 years from 2011 to 2020, the number of work stoppages under Part I of the Code has averaged 9 per year, compared to 14 per year during the prior 10 year period, from 2001 to 2010.

Collective agreements: the Labour Program maintains the most comprehensive collection of collective agreements in Canada, with almost 48,000 agreements available to public, private, national and international stakeholders through the Labour Program’s online database, Negotech.

Labour organizations: the Labour Program conducts an annual survey of major labour organizations in Canada, including information on union membership, affiliations, mergers, and officials. Overall union coverage among employers under Part I was about 35% in 2019.

Wage Earner Protection Program

Background

The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) provides timely payment of unpaid eligible wages owed to workers when their employer has filed for bankruptcy or become subject to a receivership.

To be eligible for a WEPP payment, an individual must meet 3 conditions: they were employed in Canada and their employment has been terminated; their former employer must be bankrupt or subject to a receivership; and the individual must be owed eligible wages by their former employer.

Eligible wages, which include wages, vacation pay, termination and severance pay, must have been earned in the 6-month period leading up to a bankruptcy or receivership. If an employer attempted to restructure prior to their bankruptcy or receivership, then eligibility is extended to begin 6 months prior to the start of those proceedings. The maximum WEPP payment amount is equivalent to 7 weeks of the maximum yearly insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act ($7,579 for 2021). The annual indexation of the cap ensures that the amount of wages protected by the WEPP increases with inflation. 

When payments are made under the WEPP, the Government of Canada is subrogated to any rights the individual may have in respect of unpaid wages, to the extent of the WEPP payment amount. Collection activities are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, both for subrogated debts owed to the Government, and for overpayments to recipients.

Service Canada delivers the WEPP on behalf of the Labour Program, and is responsible for frontline communications with the public and trustees/receivers, processing of applications, assessing applicants’ eligibility, issuing payments, and administering the review process.

The Labour Program is responsible for legislative and regulatory policy with respect to the Wage Earner Protection Program Act (WEPPA) and its regulations. It also provides operational policy guidance to Service Canada (who acts as a service delivery partner), monitors and reports on program activity and maintains relationships with key stakeholders and federal government partners.

The WEPPA also confers duties to trustees and receivers in the administration of the WEPP. They must identify workers who are owed eligible wages, determine amounts owed, inform workers of the existence of the Program, provide information to Service Canada and inform the Canada Revenue Agency when the estate is discharged.

WEPP applicants have the right to request a review of their application, which is conducted by Service Canada. If the applicant is not satisfied with the review, they may file an appeal with the Canada Industrial Relations Board in cases where the applicant disagrees with the jurisdiction or the interpretation of the WEPPA and its Regulations.

Since its inception in July 2008, WEPP has paid $461 million in eligible wages to nearly 158,000 Canadians (as at March 31, 2021). In a typical year, about 12,000 individuals benefit from WEPP, and over the life of the program have received an average WEPP payment of about $2,920 per recipient. Following the increased maximum WEPP payment, the average amount of payment in the 2020 to 2021 fiscal year has risen to $3,918. Since the inception of WEPP, the Crown has recovered almost $60 million from bankrupt employer estates (as at March 31, 2021).

Legislative and Regulatory Changes

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 introduced a number of additional amendments to the WEPPA to make Program eligibility more equitable. Some of these changes came into force on December 18, 2018, and include ensuring that employees retained to help wind down business operations remain eligible to receive termination and severance pay under the WEPP, granting WEPP recipients the right to request reviews and appeals regarding overpayment decisions, and increasing the maximum payment from the equivalent of 4 to 7 weeks of Employment Insurance maximum yearly insurable earnings ($7,579 gross for 2021).

New regulations were required before some of the legislative amendments can come into force. Proposed changes to WEPP Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part I, on November 28, 2020, for public comments. These consultations ended on January 15, 2021. The final regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II in September 2021 and are coming into force in November 2021. The regulations:

In order to simplify and increase payments and ensure that Canadian workers are paid more of what they’re owed when they need it most, Budget 2021 announced the elimination of the 6.82% deduction that is applied to all WEPP payments. This regulatory change will result in an average of almost $300 more for WEPP recipients who have lost their job and are owed wages by their insolvent employer. This change will also come into force in November 2021, at the same time as the remaining Budget 2018 changes noted above.

International mandate

Overview

The Minister of Labour’s mandate includes a number of important international responsibilities that aim to strengthen respect for internationally recognized labour standards. These activities contribute to the development and realization of Canada’s foreign and trade policy objectives. This is achieved through: the negotiation of international labour standards; participation in international labour forums; the negotiation and implementation of trade-related labour agreements, and the provision of technical assistance to partner countries.

International organizations

The Minister, with the support of the Labour Program, plays a lead role in the pursuit of international labour standards that reflect Canadian interests, and improved global working conditions. This work, principally occurring within the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour (IACML), strengthens Canada’s support for the rules-based international system and allows Canada to play an important role in influencing global debates on labour and human rights.

Free trade agreements

Canada’s trade-related labour approach seeks to improve working conditions in partner countries, thus reducing competitive disadvantages faced by Canadian businesses and workers and strengthening domestic support for Canada’s trade agenda. In this regard, the Labour Program has overall responsibility for the negotiation and implementation of comprehensive, binding and enforceable labour provisions, thus playing a key role in advancing Canada’s trade agenda.

Labour capacity building

Technical assistance and cooperative activities enhance working conditions abroad. This is accomplished through a mix of funded, project-based work, executed by third parties, and through the exchange of knowledge and expertise. Typical areas of focus include: modernization of labour policies; enforcement of national labour laws, and increased respect for internationally recognized labour rights and principles. The International and Intergovernmental Labour Affairs Directorate of the Labour Program is responsible for a yearly $6.8 million grants and contributions program, which includes $5 million annually (starting fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and until 2024 to 2025) for capacity-building projects in Mexico; and $600,000 per year until fiscal year 2023 to 2024 earmarked towards technical assistance and cooperative activities in selected Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) partner countries. In fiscal year 2020 to 2021, through the International Trade and Labour stream of the Labour Funding Program, nearly $1.8 million in grants was awarded to selected executing agencies to implement labour capacity building projects that support developing free trade partner countries.

International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The ILO, with its 187 member states, has a unique tripartite structure in which employers’ and workers’ representatives have an equal voice with that of governments in shaping its policies and programs.

The ILO’s mandate is the promotion of social justice, decent work, and internationally recognized human and labour rights. International labour standards (including Conventions and Recommendations) and the broad policies of the ILO are negotiated and adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC or Conference), which usually meets annually in Geneva in June. The Conference provides a forum for discussion of global labour, employment and social issues and is attended by many Heads of State and Ministers responsible for Labour. The Canadian Minister or Deputy Minister of Labour normally attends the Conference, supported by officials of the Labour Program. The June 2020 Conference was cancelled due to COVID-19; however, in July 2020 the ILO hosted a virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work with high-level participants from around the world to address the impact of COVID-19 and how to build a better future of work. The June 2021 Conference was held virtually, which included a high-level segment with the participation of several world leaders.

Canada is bound by the ILO Constitution to pay for the expenses of equal numbers of worker and employer representatives, nominated by the most representative employers’ and workers’ organizations in Canada, to attend certain ILO meetings, including the annual Conference.

Between Conferences, the work of the ILO is guided by a Governing Body of government, worker and employer members. Officials from the Labour Program, in collaboration with the Canadian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (Global Affairs Canada), play an influential role within the ILO as a member of the Governing Body and as the permanent chair of an informal grouping of 40 Industrialized Market Economy Countries (IMEC). IMEC membership includes Canada, the United States, the 27 European Union member States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and others. IMEC members contribute approximately 70% of the ILO’s budget based on assessed contributions for ILO member states (this percentage is likely higher when additional voluntary contributions are also considered), and thus have a strong collective interest in ensuring the organization is effective and efficient.

As most labour issues fall within the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories (PTs), Canadian positions on ILO issues are developed in consultation with all interested jurisdictions. In addition, the agreement of the PTs is sought prior to ratification of ILO Conventions. For more than 10 years, Ministers responsible for Labour have endorsed a federal-provincial-territorial strategy on Canada and the ILO, which aims to enhance Canada’s participation in the organization.

The ILO 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which was negotiated in a committee chaired by Canada, sets a floor for workplace human rights. These principles are embodied in 8 core ILO Conventions that member states are invited to ratify. Canada has ratified all 8 core Conventions, which relate to forced labour, child labour, freedom of association, protection of the right to organize and collective bargaining, equal remuneration, and discrimination in employment.

The ILO celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. In a demonstration of continued support for the ILO and its work, Canada ratified 2 additional international labour standards during the Centenary celebrations: Protocol 29 on Forced Labour and Convention 81 on Labour Inspection. Canada also took a leadership role, as Chair of the standard-setting committee, in the development and adoption of a new international labour standard on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (Convention 190). This convention is the world’s first international treaty addressing this specific issue. Domestically and internationally, expectations are high for Canada to ratify the Convention in a timely manner. Canadian stakeholders launched a letter campaign to encourage the Canadian government to ratify Convention 190 as soon as possible. Ratification of Convention 190 is also highlighted as a key priority in the 2020 to 23 Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Strategy on Canada and the ILO, endorsed by FPT Ministers responsible for Labour, and Labour Program officials are currently working with PTs towards ratifying the Convention at the earliest possible opportunity.

The ILO has a well-established supervisory system, which helps to ensure that ILO member states implement the Conventions they ratify. Canada fully supports the ILO supervisory system, which it considers to be 1 of the most effective in the United Nations structure.

Two key components of the ILO supervisory system are the:

The CAS is a standing tripartite committee of the International Labour Conference that examines 24 individual country cases each year where difficulties of application or non-compliance with ratified Conventions have been identified. The CAS adopts conclusions for each case, which often include specific recommendations to governments for improvement.

The CFA is a specialized tripartite committee that receives complaints regarding alleged violations of freedom of association, the right to organize, or the right to collective bargaining. The Committee, which meets and issues reports 3 times per year, can issue recommendations for future action.

Occasionally, Canada is called before the CAS or is the subject of a CFA complaint. In those situations, responses must be prepared and Canada engages in a dialogue with the ILO on those issues.

Other international organizations and initiatives

In addition to the ILO, the Labour Program also leads or supports Canada’s participation in other international organizations, such as the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour, various United Nations Committees, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G7, the G20, and other international initiatives.

Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour (IACML)

Operating within the framework of the Organization of American States, the IACML is the main forum in the Americas for discussing labour and employment issues common to all countries in the hemisphere. The IACML, which includes all 35 independent states of the Americas, aims to further hemispheric consensus on issues such as the promotion of decent work, the protection of workers’ rights, the strengthening of labour ministries, and the promotion of social dialogue.

The Minister of Labour represents Canada in the IACML ministerial conferences, which now take place every 3 years. Ministers of Labour of the Americas adopt a Declaration and Plan of Action that guide the work of their respective labour ministry officials in collaboration with international organizations, business and labour, and other key partners.

The Labour Program actively participates in workshops, meetings and other activities leading up to the next IACML. Canada has a close trading relationship with the Americas (in particular through free trade agreements, with Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the U.S.) and active participation in the IACML is important to help improve labour conditions in this key region.

The last ministerial conference took place in Barbados in December 2017. The 2021 conference took place virtually on September 22 to 24, 2021.

Support for Canada’s participation in other international organizations

The Strategic and Service Policy Branch of Employment and Social Development Canada leads the Department’s engagement in various United Nations Committees, the OECD, the G7, and the G20. The Labour Program provides subject-matter support on labour-related issues and participates in these fora, where appropriate.

Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC)

Organized by the ILO, the OECD and UN Women and launched in 2017, EPIC is a strategic partnership whose goal is to engage all relevant stakeholders (governments, private sector, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and academia) to work together to make equal pay for work of equal value a reality.

The Labour Program sits on the EPIC Steering Committee, which takes key decisions on the governance processes of the coalition. Canada will chair the Steering Committee starting in 2022 for a 2-year term. The Labour Program also actively participates in EPIC events, with a view to sharing best practices on equal pay and pay transparency issues. For instance, Canada moderated a discussion on pay equity during a side-event organized by EPIC at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2021. Along with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Canadian Employers Council (CEC) are also members of EPIC, making Canada the first country to have tripartite membership in the coalition.

Global Deal for Decent Work and Inclusive Growth (Global Deal)

The Global Deal is a multi-stakeholder partnership launched in 2016 by the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven and developed in co-operation with the OECD and the ILO. The objective of the Global Deal is to harness the potential of social dialogue as an instrument for promoting better quality jobs, fairer working conditions and more inclusive growth, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda. Canada supports the Global Deal initiative and there are now over 100 partners to the initiative, including businesses, governments, trade unions and other associations around the world.

World Congress on Safety and Health at Work

The World Congress on Safety and Health at Work (Congress), held every 3 years, is a global forum for advancing worker health protection. It is sponsored by the ILO and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The Congress is the world’s largest event for the international occupational safety and health community, with participants drawn from employer associations, labour unions, multilateral organizations, and national regulatory authorities.

The next Congress, initially scheduled to be held in Toronto in October 2020, was postponed to September 19 to 22, 2021 due to COVID-19. Given the impact of COVID-19 on workplaces around the world, a Special Virtual Session focusing on COVID-19 and Occupational Safety and Health took place on October 5, 2020. In this Special Session, the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work looked at the role prevention is playing in shaping the future world of work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the heading “COVID-19 and OSH” the session followed the 3 main topics of the World Congress as follows (i) innovations in addressing COVID-19; (ii) the changing world of work and COVID-19, and (iii) addressing COVID-19 through a culture of prevention.

The 2021 Conference was an all virtual event with a dynamic program offering a diversity of content and format, including combining pre-recorded and live content. The overall theme of the 2021 Conference was “Prevention in the Connected Age: Global Solutions to Achieve Safe and Healthy Work for All”.

Canada took an active role in the organization of the Congress. Labour Program officials sat on the National Advisory Committee and the International Organizing Committee, and a financial contribution of $326,000 was made to support the Fellowship Program, which covered the registration fees of 250 individuals (50% of which were awarded to women) from developing countries to participate in the Congress.

Global supply chains and forced labour

The Labour Program contributes in many ways to addressing labour exploitation in global supply chains, including forced labour.

Global supply chains

In recent years, concerns have been rising regarding exploitative labour practices in global supply chains. Through the course of the pandemic, these concerns have been exacerbated, particularly with respect to forced labour. As a result, a number of governments around the world have been exploring measures to tackle this issue.

The Government of Canada’s response to the 19th Report of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (SDIR) entitled, “A Call to Action: Ending the Use of all Forms of Child Labour in Supply Chains,” was tabled in Parliament in February 2019.

The Government response outlined federal government action to eliminate child labour and forced labour through international assistance, trade negotiations, promotion of responsible business practices, and procurement policies. The response also indicated that the Government of Canada would initiate consultations on possible supply chain legislation in 2019 while continuing to study options to motivate businesses to eliminate the use of any forms of child labour in their global supply chains.

In the spring of 2019, the Labour Program, with the support of an interdepartmental working group on global supply chains conducted public consultations with a range of stakeholders on possible measures to address labour exploitations in supply chains. Various international models of supply chain legislation were discussed with stakeholders to consider lessons learned, best practices, and whether or not elements of these models could be appropriate for the Canadian context. Depending on the legislative model used, supply chain legislation could mandate businesses operating in a certain jurisdiction to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for human rights (including labour rights) violations in their operations and supply chains.

Supply chain legislation in Canada

Senate Bill S-216, An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff was tabled on October 29, 2020 by Senator Miville‑Dechêne (Independent Senators Group). A former Bill (S-211 under the same title) was first tabled on February 5, 2020. The Bill imposes an obligation on certain entities to report on the measures taken to prevent and reduce the risk that forced labour or child labour is used at any step in the production of goods in Canada or elsewhere by the entity or in the production of goods imported into Canada. The Bill also provides for an inspection regime and gives the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the power to require an entity to provide certain information. Finally, the Bill also amends the Customs Tariff to allow for a prohibition on the importation of goods manufactured or produced, in whole or in part, by forced labour or child labour as those terms are defined in the Modern Slavery Act. Bill S-216 died on the order paper when the election was called in August 2021.

Forced labour import prohibition

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which includes a comprehensive and enforceable labour chapter, entered into force on July 1, 2020 and establishes an obligation for each Party to prohibit the importation of goods that have been produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labour. Consequently, Canada amended the Customs Tariff and the Schedule to the Customs Tariff to include a prohibition on the importation of goods that are mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour. While the forced labour import prohibition was implemented to fulfill a CUSMA obligation, it applies to all imports, regardless of country of origin.

While the responsibility for enforcing the ban rests with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Labour Program is collaborating with CBSA to operationalize the ban by providing research and analysis on the risk of forced labour for specific complaints or allegations. The 2 organizations concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in February 2021 clarifying their respective roles and responsibilities.

Free trade agreements

Canada’s approach is to negotiate comprehensive and enforceable labour chapters in all of its free trade agreements (FTAs). In the past, Canada has also negotiated Labour Cooperation Agreements, which are essentially side agreements to FTAs. Whether in the form of labour chapters or side agreements, labour provisions seek to support and protect Canadian workers and businesses from unfair competition.

Labour provisions commit countries that are signatories to enforce their national labour laws, which should in turn embody and provide protection for internationally recognized labour rights and principles. These agreements generally comprise additional commitments, including to provide protections for occupational health and safety, hours of work and migrant workers. Canada’s approach includes an enforceable dispute resolution mechanism, which may result, as a last recourse, in trade sanctions or, alternatively, in penalties to be paid by a government in violation of the agreement’s provisions.

Canada has Labour Cooperation Agreements with Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Jordan, Panama and Honduras, and Labour Chapters with Korea, Ukraine, the European Union (EU), Israel and 7 ratifying countries in the Asia-Pacific region under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Vietnam and Peru).

In July 2020, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which includes a comprehensive and enforceable labour chapter, entered into force.

CUSMA also includes a Facility-Specific Rapid-Response Labour Mechanism, which is an additional enforcement tool to address violations related to freedom of association and collective bargaining in covered facilities in Mexico.

Current negotiations of labour provisions within FTAs include:

[Five paragraphs redacted]

Labour capacity building

As part of its work to effectively implement the labour chapters of free trade agreements with partner countries and to ensure enhanced commitment of these countries to promote and respect fundamental labour rights, the Labour Program provides technical assistance, through the International Trade and Labour (ITL) stream of the Labour Funding Program (a grants and contributions program), to support capacity building.

Through the ITL stream, technical assistance is provided in direct support of existing and future trade-related labour agreements. Capacity building projects funded by the Labour Program are implemented by reliable executing agencies (for example, international and regional organizations). Generally, these projects support partner countries’ efforts to strengthen respect for international labour standards. For example, in recent years, the ITL stream funded projects in:

The International and Intergovernmental Labour Affairs Directorate of the Labour Program is responsible for administering the yearly ITL envelope of $6.8 million. It includes $1.2 million per year (ongoing); $5 million annually (starting in fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and until 2024 to 2025) for capacity-building projects in Mexico; and $600,000 per year until fiscal year 2023 to 2024 earmarked towards technical assistance in selected Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership partner countries.

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

Labour provisions

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) entered into force on July 1, 2020. It includes a comprehensive Labour chapter that is subject to the Agreement’s dispute settlement chapter to address issues of non-compliance with labour obligations. The chapter includes an Annex on Worker Representation in Collective Bargaining in Mexico (Annex 23-A), under which Mexico commits to specific legislative actions to provide for the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

The Canada-Mexico Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labour Mechanism (RRLM) was also established to allow countries to request a review of a specific facility based on a good faith belief that obligations related to freedom of association and collective bargaining in covered facilities are not being respected. The U.S. has established an equivalent mechanism with Mexico.

Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labour Mechanism (RRLM)

The RRLM is an innovative mechanism and an additional enforcement tool to ensure Mexico’s compliance with its labour obligations under the CUSMA. As it applies bilaterally between Canada and Mexico, and between the U.S. and Mexico, complaints about alleged violations to freedom of association and collective bargaining in Mexican facilities can be filed in Canada or the U.S.

As a first step, a party (either Canada or the U.S.) can request that Mexico undertake a review of the specific facility to find if there was a violation of the right to free association and collective bargaining and undertake any necessary remediation efforts. A party can also request that a 3 member panel of labour experts be formed to inspect the facility to determine whether or not the allegations of violations of labour laws are founded. If founded, the facility will be provided with a specific period within which to bring itself into conformity with labour laws. If the facility fails to correct the issue, the party may impose penalties, suspend benefits or, for repeat offenders, block shipments of goods.

To date, complaints have not been filed under the Canada-Mexico RRLM. However, 2 complaints have been initiated under the U.S.-Mexico RRLM against companies in Mexico. The first complaint alleged violations of workers’ rights in the auto parts company Tridonex, based in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The second complaint under the U.S.-Mexico RRLM was filed against a General Motors facility located in Silao, in the state of Guanajuato. Canadian labour officials continue to monitor these cases, including consulting their U.S. and Mexican counterparts.

Implementation
Canada’s Technical Assistance and Monitoring

In December 2020, the Labour Program of ESDC was granted spending authority of $27.5 million over 4 years to support Mexico’s implementation of its labour reform and commitments under the CUSMA. Canada will devote $20 million to carry out capacity-building projects in Mexico. The remaining $7.5 million will be used to implement and monitor Mexico’s compliance with its CUSMA labour commitments, including the deployment of 2 labour attachés to the Canadian Embassy in Mexico.

To date, as part of the $20 million, 2 worker-focused capacity-building projects will be implemented by Canadian unions over 4 years, starting in September 2021, in collaboration with Mexican organizations:

Additional project proposals in different areas to support Mexico’s labour reform are being discussed and will be developed in the near future to allocate the remaining Canadian funding resources.

CUSMA Labour Council

The Labour Council, established under the Labour chapter of CUSMA, convened its first meeting on June 29, 2021. The Council meeting took place virtually and was hosted by the United States. Delegations from the 3 countries included senior-level officials from Labour and Trade ministries. Key issues of discussion included the implementation of the requirement to prohibit the importation of goods made from forced labour, an update on Mexico’s labour law reform, the RRLM, labour policies for migrant workers and areas for technical assistance.

Following the meeting, the Council released a joint statement as mandated by the Labour chapter summarizing the meeting’s discussions.

Labour Program portfolio organizations

Canada Industrial Relations Board

The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB or the Board) is an independent, representational, quasi-judicial tribunal.
The Board’s original mandate was to contribute to, and promote, a harmonious industrial relations climate in federally regulated private sector organizations under Part I of the Canada Labour Code (Code). In that regard, the CIRB is responsible for the interpretation and application of the provisions of Part I of the Code related to:

Over the years, its mandate has expanded to include the following responsibilities:

Various factors, such as the state of the economy and lifecycles of collective agreements, result in fluctuating workloads year to year. Fiscal year 2019 to 2020 saw a 30% increase in workload from the 3 previous fiscal years. This increase was directly attributable to the 2019 expansion of the Board’s mandate under Part II and Part III of the Code. The trend continued in 2020 to 2021 with a workload increase of over 80% compared with pre-2019 to 2020 levels. The Board may also see an increase of cases relating to employer bankruptcies under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act as a result of stresses on businesses caused by the pandemic. The Board has not yet received any complaints under Part IV of the Code, which was only added to the Board’s mandate this year.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada in mid-March 2020, the CIRB quickly shifted its operations to virtual operations. The Board has been able to continue to provide services and process matters with minimal disruption due to the pandemic. The CIRB already conducted the majority of its hearings on the basis of written submissions and continues to do so in the current circumstances. It was also able to quickly transition to teleconference and videoconference as the principal methods of holding oral hearings and conducting mediations. Board clients have not suffered any appreciable delay in having their matters heard and determined due to the pandemic.

Composition

The Code provides for the CIRB to be composed of 1 full-time neutral Chairperson, 2 or more full-time neutral Vice-Chairpersons, and not more than 6 full-time Members representing employers and employees in equal numbers. Part-time Vice-Chairpersons and Members may also be appointed to the CIRB. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the CIRB must have experience and expertise in labour relations.

The Board is currently composed of the following appointees:

In accordance with section 12(2) of the Code, Members whose terms expire continue to complete the duties assigned to them during their active term.

In addition, the Chairperson has the statutory authority to appoint external adjudicators to determine matters under Parts II, III or IV of the Code.

Minister’s role/accountability

In accordance with the Code, the Board reports to Parliament through the Minister of Labour. The Minister is responsible for recommending the appointment of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Board to the Governor in Council. The representative Members are also appointed by the Governor in Council on the Minister’s recommendation, after consulting federal employer and employee organizations. These organizations are represented by the Federally Regulated Employers-Transportation and Communications (FETCO) and the Canadian Labour Congress.

Under the Code, the Minister has the authority to refer any question on maintenance of activities to the Board if there is concern that a work stoppage could threaten the health or safety of the public. In the interest of promoting industrial peace, the Minister also has authority to refer any question to the Board or direct it to do such things as the Minister deems necessary. This provision has been used sporadically since its inclusion in the Code.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is a federal government agency that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Labour.

The mandate of CCOHS is to promote workplace health and safety and the physical and mental health of working people in Canada.

To fulfill its mandate, CCOHS collaborates with Canadian and international partners, researchers and stakeholders. It is a recognized leader in providing effective programs, products and services, which are based on the CCOHS’ knowledge base and core competencies; collection of occupational health and safety information; and application of information management technologies.

More specifically, CCOHS provides information and knowledge transfer services including a widely referenced online collection of over 700 fact sheets on a wide range of health and safety topics. From April 2020 to March 2021, 10.6 million users visited the collection more than 13 million times. CCOHS also offers e-courses, cost-effective tools and management systems for improving occupational health and safety performance, and injury and illness prevention initiatives that promote the safety and health, physical, psychological, and total well-being of workers.

CCOHS works closely with the safety community to respond to emerging issues and support ongoing occupational health and safety projects. For example, CCOHS developed online courses and resources to help workplaces operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCOHS is supporting the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation’s (CAALL) priority to improve mental health in the workplace, notably through the sharing of best practices and tools. Additionally, CCOHS conducted a jurisdictional scan of workplace mental health tools offered by various organizations for the CAALL Strategic Labour Policy Committee. The aim of the scan was to identify tools that provide tangible improvements in workplace mental health that could lead to a pan-Canadian approach to these programs. CCOHS also serves as the secretariat for the Occupational Safety and Health Committee of CAALL.

To support the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, CCOHS maintains the Roster of Investigators, developed by the Labour Program, on its website, which is available to employers who require a qualified, professional investigator to investigate and address occurrences of workplace harassment and violence. CCOHS also worked closely with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) on developing e-learning modules on workplace harassment and violence in the federal jurisdiction. This training is available to all federal public service employees through CSPS’ website. Between January 1 and August 10, 2021, total registrations for the 3 modules offered is 196,453.

CCOHS has also established international partnerships to advance occupational health and safety globally. In particular, CCOHS is a Canadian collaborating centre with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), a specialized health agency of the World Health Organization.

Response to COVID-19

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCOHS has provided invaluable support to the whole-of-government response to the pandemic. CCOHS has developed a variety of innovative online products, tools and training materials to help Canadian workplaces respond to the pandemic.

Through an Interdepartmental Letter of Agreement, CCOHS is supporting the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in developing business resumption guidance that is consistent with workplace health and safety requirements.

Composition

CCOHS is located in Hamilton, Ontario, and was established in 1978 by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Act, which was passed by unanimous vote in the Canadian Parliament. CCOHS has developed a national and international reputation for excellence as a source of unbiased and credible information on all aspects of workplace health and safety. The CCOHS workforce is approximately 100 employees.

CCOHS is governed by a Council representing 3 key stakeholder groups: governments (federal, provincial and territorial), employer representatives and unions. The 22 members (chair included) of the Council are appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour.

The Council is currently composed of the following appointees:

Employee Representatives:

Employer Representatives:

Province/Territory Representatives:

There are 6 vacancies on the CCOHS Council of Governors for provinces and territories, and 3 employee vacancies:

Anne Tennier was appointed as President and CEO of CCOHS for a 5-year period in April 2018. Gary Robertson, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Labour Program was reappointed as Chairperson of CCOHS for a 5-year period in December 2017.

Minister’s Role/Accountability

The Council is required to submit an annual report on the activities and work of the Centre to the federal Minister of Labour. The Minister tables the report to Parliament on behalf of the CCOHS Council of Governors.

Budget and Funding

The CCOHS expenditures for fiscal year 2020 to 2021 were $14.6 million that included $6.44 million in revenue and $8.16 million in federal funding.

The business resumption funding was announced by the Minister of Labour on September 10, 2020. This new funding, $2.5 million over 2 years, enables CCOHS to continue to provide valuable guidance to help Canadian workplaces operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ensures that businesses have all the necessary tools and resources to protect workers’ health and safety during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

B. Partners and stakeholders

Business and employer associations

Operating in industries such as air, rail and marine transportation, banking, telecommunications and broadcasting, businesses in the federal jurisdiction play vital roles in generating direct economic activity, providing critical infrastructure services that enable the national economy and contribute to the well-being of Canadians.

Business and employer associations primarily act as advocates for their members on public policy issues with governments and often undertake research and analysis to support their activities. A few also engage in, or coordinate, collective bargaining on behalf of their members.

Discussions with employers, and the associations that represent them, have long been important means by which the Minister of Labour and the Labour Program identify issues of common concern and gain a better understanding of employer perspectives on federal labour issues. Ongoing dialogue with these organizations helps to ensure that their views are taken into account in the formulation of federal labour laws and policies.

The remainder of this section describes the key business and employer associations that are active in the federal private sector.

Key associations

Federally Regulated Employers ˗ Transportation and Communications (FETCO)

FETCO represents the major federally regulated companies and employer associations in the transportation and communications sectors in Canada. Formed in 1983, it is the principal voice for these businesses on federal labour matters.

FETCO members collectively employ about 500,000 employees, of which over 240,000 are mostly in unionized organizations, and all are covered under the Canada Labour Code.

FETCO members include:

In recent years, FETCO has been involved in formal and informal discussions on all aspects of federal labour policy. The organization is also part of the Canada Industrial Relations Board’s Client Consultation Committee, which was established in 2004 to improve communications between the Board and the business and labour organizations that use its services.

Key contact: Mr. Derrick Hynes, Executive Director

Canadian Bankers Association (CBA)

The CBA represents more than 60 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 275,000 employees. It provides governments and others with a centralized contact to all banks on matters relating to banking in Canada.

The CBA’s advocacy activities are aimed at ensuring a sound banking system. Issues of interest include banking regulation, tax competitiveness, financial literacy, identity theft and money laundering, as well as federal labour laws, policies and regulations that affect the workplaces of its member organizations. In the latter area, the CBA has in recent years focused on issues such as termination of employment, workplace violence and sexual harassment and support for employees with caregiving responsibilities.

Key contacts: Neil Parmenter, President and CEO

British Columbia Maritime Employers’ Association (BCMEA)

The BCMEA consists of 49 member companies with commercial interests in the waterfront in Vancouver and along the British Columbia coast. These companies include ship owners and agents, stevedores and container, bulk and break bulk terminal operators.

The BCMEA’s main role is collective bargaining on behalf of its members and the administration of 2 collective agreements covering about 6,000 longshoremen and foremen in the Ports of Vancouver, New Westminster, Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island. It also represents its members before the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and other regulatory bodies and plays an advocacy role on behalf of its members on issues such as health and safety, pensions, human rights and employment equity, legislative reform and the Canada Labour Code.

In addition, the BCMEA promotes workplace health and safety in the longshore industry. It also oversees the training and recruitment of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canadian Area and the daily dispatch of labour for the Vancouver local of the Union.

The 49 members of the BCMEA include:

Key contact: Mr. Mike Leonard, President and Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA)

The CTA is a federation of provincial trucking associations. It represents a broad cross-section of the trucking industry – some 4,500 carriers, owner-operators and industry suppliers – and advocates on behalf of the industry on national and international policy, regulatory and legislative issues that affect trucking.

The CTA is headquartered in Toronto, has an operating office in Ottawa and provincial association offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Montreal and Moncton.

Although the CTA is a member of FETCO, the unique characteristics of the trucking industry sometimes merits direct communications.

Key contact: Mr. Stephen Laskowski, President and Chief Executive Officer

Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ)

The CPQ consists of Quebec’s largest companies and the vast majority of sector-based employer associations in the province with more than 70,000 members. Its members operate in industries such as banking, transportation, communications, manufacturing and services, as well as natural resources, education and occupational health and safety.

Although most of its activities concern provincial policies and legislation, in recent years the CPQ has been active on federal issues such as labour standards, psychological health and safety and health and safety in the workplace.

CPQ members who fall under federal jurisdiction include:

Key contact: Mr. Karl Blackburn, President and CEO

Others

Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC)

The CCC has a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes from all sectors. In recent years, it has played an active advocacy role on issues such as trade and competitiveness, employee benefits, work practices in the cross-border transportation sector and labour relations and work stoppages with impacts for Canada’s economy.

Key contact: The Honourable Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer

Business Council of Canada (BCC)

The BCC is composed of the Chief Executive Officers of leading companies across the Canadian economy. The council represents 150 leading Canadian businesses and employs 1.7 million Canadians across every major industry, making them responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s exports, investment, research and development and training.

The BCC has an active program of public policy research, consultation and advocacy. Its work in recent years has addressed issues such as trade and competitiveness, corporate tax reform, the labour market participation of disadvantaged groups and the changing nature of the Canadian workforce.

BCC members include:

Key contact: Mr. Goldy Hyder, President and Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Employers Council (CEC)

The CEC is a members-based organization that speaks on behalf of the Canadian employer community on international labour, employment and human rights issues. Using a participatory approach, CEC members are highly involved in the work of the organization.

The CEC has been actively involved at the International Labour Organization and in discussions on possible Canadian supply chain legislation prior to and following the Spring/Summer 2019 consultations.

Key contact: Mr. Kirk Newhook, Executive Director

Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

The CFIB represents over 95,000 small business owners in all sectors of the economy, but particularly retail, construction and manufacturing.

The CFIB advocates on behalf of its members with all 3 levels of government on tax fairness, labour laws and reducing the regulatory burden. Although typically not a key advocate on federal labour issues, the CFIB in recent years has taken an active interest in amendments to the labour standards provisions in the Canada Labour Code.

Key contact: Mr. Dan Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME)

The CME is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, working for and with 2,500 leading manufactures from coast to coast. It represents manufacturing and exporting businesses which, together, account for an estimated 82% of Canada's manufacturing production and 90% of Canadian goods and services exports. While CME's membership includes Canada's largest businesses, more than 85% of its members are small and mid-sized enterprises.

The CME focusses on issues such as manufacturing competitiveness, business with the United States, international markets, people and skills, energy and the environment. It plays an active policy and advocacy role and provides a wide variety of other services to its members, such as training, research and analysis.

Key contact: Mr. Dennis Darby, President and Chief Executive Officer

National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC)

The NACC is the trade association representing Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers: Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.

The NACC advocates on behalf of its members on policy, regulatory and legislative issues that affect the Canadian aviation industry. The NACC was an active member of the Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee, which was established to fulfil the previous government’s commitment to co-develop a policy on the right to disconnect with employers and labour groups that will benefit federally regulated workers.

Key contact: Mr. Mike McNaney, President and Chief Executive Officer

Railway Association of Canada (RAC)

The RAC represents close to 60 freight and passenger railway companies, railways that transport more than 100 million passengers and more than $320 billion worth of goods across Canada each year. RAC also counts a growing number of industrial railways and railway supply companies in its associate membership.

RAC advocates on behalf of its members on policy, regulatory and legislative issues that affect the Canadian railway industry. RAC was an active member of the Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee, which was established to fulfil the previous government’s commitment to co-develop a policy on the right to disconnect with employers and labour groups that will benefit federally regulated workers.

Key contact: Mr. Marc Brazeau, President and Chief Executive Officer

Labour organizations

There are approximately 4.86 million workers in Canada represented by a union.

Unions act as the bargaining agent representing employees during the collective bargaining process. Additionally, unions support employees by working with the employer to help resolve workplace issues by:

Any industrial action taken by either the workers or their employer during contract negotiations may have a social and economic impact and, because of this, it is important to develop ongoing communication and dialogue.

Unions, with some exceptions, are normally affiliated to a central labour body. One of the key roles of central labour bodies is to represent the views of the labour movement in public policy discussions and debates.

The remainder of this section first describes the main labour centrals in Canada, and then provides information on the key individual unions active in the federal jurisdiction.

Key labour centrals

Labour centrals are organizations formed by groups of unions to represent the general concerns of unions and workers. Labour centrals coordinate the activities of their member unions and represent them in public policy discussions and processes that address the interests of their members and other workers.

Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Founded in 1956, the CLC represents more than 3 million workers. The CLC is the largest labour central in Canada and acts as the principal voice of organized labour with respect to labour and employment legislation in the federal jurisdiction.

The CLC has played an active role in a wide range of consultative activities that have been undertaken by the Labour Program in the past. On behalf of its members, the CLC advocates for decent wages, healthy and safe workplaces, fair labour laws, equality rights, dignity in retirement, a sustainable environment and respect for basic human rights.

Note that Unifor (see section on key unions below) is not presently affiliated with the CLC.

Key contact: Ms. Bea Bruske, President

Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ)

The FTQ is the Canadian Labour Congress’ provincial federation in the province of Quebec. It should be noted that, unlike other CLC provincial federations, the FTQ has, over the years, acquired a unique autonomous role both organizationally and in governmental affairs.

The FTQ is the largest labour central in Quebec, in terms of its membership. It has more than 600,000 members, who account for 44% of unionized workers in Quebec.

Key contact: Mr. Daniel Boyer, President

Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)

The CSN is the second-largest labour central in Quebec, with a membership of approximately 300,000 workers from 1,600 affiliated labour organizations. The CSN’s membership covers a range of industrial sectors under both provincial and federal jurisdiction.

Key contact: Ms. Caroline Senneville, President

Other labour centrals

Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ)

The CSQ is the third-largest labour central in Quebec, with more than 200,000 members, most of whom are employed in industries under provincial jurisdiction.

Over 130,000 CSQ members are in the field of education, most working in the public sector, and approximately 75% are women.

Key contact: Ms. Sonia Éthier, President

Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD)

The CSD represents approximately 71,000 members in various sectors of the economy. It is the smallest of the 4 labour centrals in Quebec, with about 4% of the union membership in the province. The majority of members are in the textile, clothing and footwear sectors, under provincial jurisdiction.

Key contact: Mr. Luc Vachon, President

Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC)

The CLAC is an independent, national union representing over 60,000 members in the construction, health care, transportation, manufacturing, service, mining and retail sectors in both provincial and federal jurisdictions. CLAC is not affiliated with any provincial or national labour federation or congress in Canada.

Key contacts: Mr. Wayne Prins, Executive Director and Mr. Ian DeWaard, Ontario Provincial Director

The Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU)

The CCU is a federation of independent labour unions. The CCU is dedicated to the establishment of a democratic, independent Canadian labour movement.

The CCU has almost 20,000 members in 7 affiliated unions: the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers; the Association of Employees Supporting Education Services; the Nova Scotia Union of Public and Private Employees; the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Union; the York University Staff Association; the Public and Private Workers of Canada , and, the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers.

Key contact: Mr. Kelly Johnson, President

Key unions in the federal jurisdiction

Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA)

ACPA is the federally certified bargaining agent for more than 3,600 pilots employed at Air Canada. ACPA was established in 1996 when Air Canada pilots separated from the Canadian Airline Pilots Association.

Key contact: Captain Mike McKay, Chair, Master Elected Council (MEC)

Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), Affiliated with CLC

ALPA is an international union that represents nearly 60,000 pilots at 36 U.S. and Canadian airlines. The ALPA Canada Board represents the interests of pilots in Canada. ALPA represents pilots at a number of Canadian air carriers, including: Jazz (Air Canada’s regional carrier), Air Transat, and Bearskin Lake Air Services.

Key contact: Captain Joe DePete, President

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Affiliated with CLC

CUPE represents 700,000 workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines. CUPE is most active in the provincial jurisdiction with health care and municipal workers as its 2 largest sectors.

Key federally regulated employers that CUPE has negotiated agreements with include: Air Canada, Air Transat, Atomic Energy of Canada, CanJet Airlines, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Groupe TVA Inc., Maritime Employers Association, Sunwing Airlines, and Telus Communications.

Key contact: Mr. Mark Hancock, National President

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)

CUPW represents approximately 54,000 members. Many work for Canada Post as letter carriers, rural and suburban mail carriers, postal clerks, mail handlers and dispatchers, technicians, mechanics and electricians. CUPW also represents cleaners, couriers, drivers, vehicle mechanics, warehouse workers, printers, emergency medical dispatchers and other workers in the private sector.

Key contact: Ms. Jan Simpson, National President

Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG)

The objectives of CMSG, a National Association of Ships’ Officers and Marine Pilots, are to promote the social, economic, cultural, educational and material interests of its members. The Guild represents the majority of Ships’ Officers and Pilots in the Canadian Maritime Industry.

Key contact: Captain Simon Pelletier, President

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Affiliated with CLC

IBEW represents approximately 70,000 members in every province and territory in Canada. IBEW’s membership covers a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government.

Key federally regulated employers that IBEW has negotiated agreements with include: Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, the Government of Canada, and NAV Canada.

Key contacts: Mr. Thomas Reid, International Vice-President

International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU), Affiliated with CLC

ILWU Canada is a union made up of 12 autonomous ILWU Locals and 3 affiliate unions: the Retail Wholesale Union (British Columbia); the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (Saskatchewan), and the Grain Services Union (Saskatchewan).

Key federally regulated employers that ILWU has negotiated agreements with include: Seaspan Marine Corporation, British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Key contact: Mr. Rob Ashton, President

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada was founded in 1920. The Institute was founded to protect the interests of professional public employees and became a bargaining agent following the implementation of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA) in 1967.

With over 60,000 members, the Institute is the largest union in Canada representing scientists and professionals employed at the federal and some provincial and territorial levels of government and it is the bargaining agent for more than 41 knowledge-based professional groups. The organization negotiates with 27 different employers in 7 jurisdictions, including with the Treasury Board of Canada, separate federal agencies, and Crown Corporations.

Key contact: Ms. Debi Daviau, President

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Affiliated with CLC

Formed in 1966, PSAC represents more than 215,000 members across Canada, as well as some workers in embassies and consulates abroad.

The majority of PSAC members work for the federal government and its agencies. A growing number of PSAC members also work for private sector enterprises and in the broader public-sector including universities, women's shelters, casinos, community services agencies, Indigenous communities, airports and the security sector.

Key federally regulated employers that PSAC has negotiated agreements with include: Canada Post Corporation, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, NAV Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mint.

Key contact: Mr. Chris Aylward, National President

Teamsters, Affiliated with CLC

Teamsters Canada is affiliated to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Canadian Labour Congress and represents over 125,000 workers across Canada in different sectors of the economy, including trucking, aerospace, railways and security services. Key federally regulated employers that Teamsters Canada has negotiated agreements with include: Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Kingsway Transport Ltd., and Purolator Inc.

Key contact: Mr. François Laporte, President and International Vice President

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)

The Teamsters union represents 125,000 Canadians, over 16,000 of those members work in the rail industry and are represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. They are a collective bargaining partner for the 2 major rail carriers in Canada, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, as well as the majority of the short lines in Canada.

Key contact: Lyndon Isaak, President

Unifor

Unifor is the largest private-sector union in Canada, representing more than 315,000 members, and 754 affiliated union locals. Unifor was formed after the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) in August 2013.

Key federally regulated employers that Unifor has negotiated agreements with include: Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Bell Canada, CTV Television, Canadian National Railway, First Air, Jazz Air, Rogers Cable Communications, Shaw Media, Service Air Inc., and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Key contact: Mr. Jerry Dias, National President

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Affiliated with CLC

UFCW Canada has 24 locals representing approximately 250,000 members in Canada. Members work mainly in provincial jurisdiction industries, including the food, retail, health care, hospitality, security, financial services, and non-food manufacturing.

Key federally regulated employers that UFCW has negotiated agreements include: Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of Canada, Bearskin Lake Air Service, Buckerfield’s Ltd., CSP Foods Ltd., and Canada Packers Inc.

Key contact: Mr. Paul R. Meinema, National President

United Steelworkers (USW), Affiliated with CLC

The USW is divided into 13 districts across North America including 3 districts across Canada and 4 national local unions: Telecommunications Workers Union-TWU-USW National Local 1944, USW National Local Union 2004, USW National Local Union 1976 and USW Wood Council.

USW represents more than 225,000 members working in call centres, credit unions, rail, mines offices and oil refineries, restaurants, rubber plants, sawmills, steel mills, security companies, nursing homes, legal clinics, social agencies, universities, manufacturing plants and the lumber industry.

Key federally regulated employers that USW has negotiated agreements include: Atomic Energy of Canada, Allstream Corporation, CANPAR Transport, Cameco Corporation, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Delta Airlines, Garda Security Screening, Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Securitas Transport, and Telus Communications.

Key contact: Mr. Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada

Non-governmental organizations/experts

The Labour Program regularly engages with numerous non-governmental organizations and experts on key Labour Program mandate priorities, to build relationships and to share information on issues of mutual interest. Their views and perspectives have informed the development of policies, legislation and regulations that are responsive to the needs of the diverse types of workplaces found in the federal jurisdiction.

The contacts listed below include the organizations or individuals with whom the Labour Program has had significant interaction or who have made a key contribution to the development of policies or programs.

Non-governmental organizations

Atkinson Foundation

The Atkinson Foundation promotes social and economic justice with the key goal of making Ontario more equitable, inclusive and prosperous.

The Atkinson Foundation participated in consultations on Modernizing Labour Standards in 2017.

Key contact: Colette Murphy, Chief Executive Officer

Au bas de l'échelle (ABÉ)

ABÉ is an education and advocacy group of non-unionized people. Since 1975, ABÉ has offered several information and training services on the rights to work (dismissal, psychological harassment, prohibited practices, etc.) and has taken political actions to improve the rights of non-unionized workers, particularly in the context of labour standards.

ABÉ participated in consultations on Flexible Work Arrangements in 2016 and on Modernizing Labour Standards in 2017.

Key contacts: Mélanie Gauvin

Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE)

CACEE is an association that fosters a networking partnership between Canadian educational institutions and employers. Their key goal is to advance and support on-campus recruitment and career education by providing: leadership, information, resources and a professional network to prepare post-secondary students for a successful transition into their careers.

CACEE participated in consultations on Unpaid Internships in 2015 and 2016.

Key contact: Catherine Stace, President

Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP)

CAIRP is the stakeholder group that represents the interests of the Canadian trustee and receiver community. Trustees and receivers are required to perform duties under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act. CAIRP participates in the Joint Liaison Committee (JLC), which is chaired by the Labour Program, and comprises key stakeholders and partners both internal and external to the federal government.

Key contact: Anne Wettlaufer, President and Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

The CCPA is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice. The CCPA has produced a number of studies into vulnerable workers, precarious work, minimum and living wages.

The CCPA participated in the Labour Program’s 2017 consultations on proactive pay equity and in an information session in the spring of 2019. In addition, the CCPA participated in consultations on Flexible Work Arrangements in 2016.

Key contact: Larry Brown, President

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)

The CFS is the largest student organization in Canada, representing over 530,000 students from across Canada. Its goal is to represent the collective voice of Canadian students and work at the federal level for high quality, accessible post-secondary education.

The CFS participated in the 2018 consultations on Internships.

Key contact: Alannah Mckay, National Chairperson

Co-operative Education, Career Services and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL)

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada), formerly Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE), is the lead organization for work-integrated learning in Canada. Its mission is to build the capacity to develop future-ready students and graduates through quality work-integrated learning. CEWIL partners with post-secondary institutions, community members, employers, government, and students to champion work-integrated learning (WIL).

CEWIL participated in the 2018 consultations on Internships.

Key contact: Cara Krezek, President

CSA Group

CSA Group (formerly known as the Canadian Standards Association) is a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services for products from a wide range of market sectors, and a leader in safety and environmental certification for Canada and the US.

The Labour Program maintains an ongoing relationship with the CSA Group, with program officials sitting on Technical Committees that are tasked to provide their expertise and feedback to the development of occupational health and safety CSA standards.

Key contact: David Weinstein, President and CEO

Equal Pay Coalition

Formed in 1976, the Equal Pay Coalition is comprised of trade unions, women’s and businesswomen’s groups, and community organizations seeking to end gender pay discrimination and close the gender pay gap through legislation, collective bargaining, and social initiatives.

Over the years, the Coalition has met with governments calling for action on many fronts to bring economic equality to women in all their diverse circumstances. These include strong enforcement of the Pay Equity Act, access to affordable child care, increases to the minimum wage, and reinstatement of Ontario’s Employment Equity Act.

Key contacts: Ms. Fay Faraday and Ms. Jan Borowy, Co-chairs

Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF)

Founded in 1974 in Moncton, New Brunswick, the FJCF coordinates activities and initiatives, in collaboration with its association members from 9 provinces and 2 territories, to meet the needs of French-speaking minority youth in Canada.

FJCF participated in the 2018 consultations on Internships.

Key contact: Josée Vaillancourt, Director General

Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC)

The ISARC is a provincial network of faith groups working together for greater social justice. ISARC was born out of the hope that together a coalition of faith groups could contribute to new public policies based upon greater justice and dignity for Ontarians marginalized by poverty.

The ISARC participated in regulatory consultations on Modern Labour Standards in 2019.

Key contact: Susan Eagle, Chair

Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), Rotman School of Management

GATE is a research institute based out of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. They have done research on labour policy, including harassment, parental leave and other issues related to gender in the workplace.

GATE was a partner in the May 2019 Symposium on Women and the Workplace.

Key contact: Sarah Kaplan, Director

INTERNeX International Exchange

Founded in 1998, INTERNeX international exchange strives to provide the highest quality of professional and personal development services to its clients. Its programs are tailored specifically to fit the needs of participants who are seeking practical experience and for host organizations seeking to enrich their capacity for globalization.

INTERNeX international exchange participated in the 2018 consultation on Internships.

Key contact: Timothy Wells, President

Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS)

The PCLS was founded in 1971 by Parkdale neighbourhood residents, community organizations and Osgoode Hall Law School, establishing one of the first and now largest community legal clinics in Canada. The PCLS is a non-profit charity, led by a Board of Directors with community and Osgoode Hall Law School representatives. It provides community development and engagement, legal representation, summary legal advice and community legal education.

The PCLS participated in regulatory consultations on Modern Labour Standards in 2019 and on Hours of Work provisions in 2020.

Key contact: Mary Gellatly, Community Legal Worker Group Lead

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)

OCASI was formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant serving agencies and to coordinate responses to shared needs and concerns.

OCASI is a registered charity governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its membership is comprised of more than 200 community-based organizations in the province of Ontario.

OCASI participated in regulatory consultations on Modern Labour Standards in 2019.

Key contact: Janet Madume, President

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)

The OFIFC represents the collective interests of 29 Friendship Centres in cities and towns across the province.

Friendship Centers are places for community members and Indigenous people living in urban spaces to gather, connect with one another and receive culturally based services.

Friendship Centers improve the lives of urban Indigenous people by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access to, and participation in, Canadian society while respecting Indigenous cultural distinctiveness.

The OFIFC participated in regulatory consultations on Modern Labour Standards in 2019.

Key contact: Jennifer Dockstader, President

Canadian Women’s Foundation

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for diverse women and girls. They focus on women and girls because they face distinct barriers that require distinct solutions and because gender equality improves economic and social conditions for everyone.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a recipient of contribution funding under the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund.

Key Contact: Beth Malcolm

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities participated in WebEx consultations for Harassment and Violence Regulations in 2018.

Key Contact: James Hicke, April D'Aubin

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)

The Mental Health Commission of Canada was created in 2007 as a result of a recommendation by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology to create a Mental Health Commission for ongoing national focus for mental health issues.

Funded by Health Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada leads the development and dissemination of programs and tools to support the mental health and wellness of Canadians; collaborates with stakeholders on studies, reports, and campaigns to accelerate change; and facilitates knowledge sharing among levels of government and across provinces and territories. The organization provides its recommendations to governments, service providers, community leaders and many others, and works with these partners to implement them.

Key contact: Mr. Michel Rodrigue, President and Chief Executive Officer

Neil Squire Society

The Neil Squire Society is a Canadian national not-for-profit organization that has been empowering Canadians with disabilities through employment, digital literacy, innovation, and assistive technology for the past 35 years.

The Neil Squire Society participated in WebEx consultations for Harassment and Violence Regulations in 2018.

Key Contact: Charles Levasseur

Canadian Council of Muslim Women

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is an organization dedicated to the empowerment, equality and equity of all Muslim women in Canada.

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women participated in WebEx consultations for Harassment and Violence Regulations in 2018.
Key contact: None available at this time

SHARE

Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) is a leading not-for-profit organization in responsible investment services, research and education. SHARE works with a growing network of institutional investors helping them to become active owners and develop and implement responsible investment policies and practices.

SHARE has been actively involved in discussions on possible Canadian supply chain legislation prior to and following the Spring/Summer 2019 consultations.

Key contact: Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer

UNICEF Canada

UNICEF is the world’s farthest-reaching humanitarian organization for children. Across 190 countries and territories, and in the world’s toughest places, UNICEF works to: help children survive; defend their rights; keep them protected, healthy and educated, and give them a fair chance to fulfil their potential.

UNICEF Canada has been actively involved in discussions on possible Canadian supply chain legislation prior to and following the Spring/Summer 2019 consultations.

Key contact: Simon Chorley

World Vision Canada

World Vision is a global relief, development and advocacy organization. World Vision partners with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

World Vision Canada has been actively involved in discussions on possible Canadian supply chain legislation prior to and following the Spring/Summer 2019 consultations.

Key contact: Simon Lewchuk

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