What We Heard: The way Canadians work has changed

News release

August 30, 2018                    Gatineau, Quebec                    Employment and Social Development Canada

As workplaces evolve, so too must the labour standards in those workplaces. It’s clear that ever-increasing global competition, rapid technological changes and socio-demographic shifts are fundamentally altering the way businesses operate and the way Canadians work.

Today the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, published the What We Heard Report on the results of consultations by the Government of Canada on modernizing federal labour standards to better reflect the realities of the 21st century workplace.

Federal labour standards establish the basic rights of employees regarding hours of work, holidays, leaves, wages and other working conditions in federally regulated industries, such as banking, telecommunications and interprovincial and international transportation.

From May 2017 to March 2018, the consultations heard from employers and employer organizations, unions and labour organizations, experts and individual Canadians about their perspectives on what a robust and modern set of federal labour standards should look like.

One strong message was repeated throughout the consultations: The way Canadians work has changed but federal labour standards have not.

Another message that emerged among employers and employer organizations was that federal labour standards should be more flexible to allow employers to operate nimbly, remain competitive and adapt to industry-specific realities. Unions and labour organizations, conversely, recommended that federal labour standards be raised to meet or exceed the highest standards in the provinces and territories.

The findings of the consultations also made it clear there were some areas where the government can take action quickly, while others require more in-depth review and discussion. 

The Government of Canada is committed to bringing forward legislation to modernize federal labour standards and examining those issues that merit further study. The findings of these consultations will be carefully considered going forward.


Quotes

"A modern set of federal labour standards will better protect Canadian workers and help set the stage for good quality jobs, especially for workers in part-time, temporary or low-wage jobs, many of whom are struggling to balance work and family. Standards that reflect current workplace realities will help employers recruit and retain employees while also improving their well-being. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has already taken steps to modernize the Canada Labour Code, such as introducing stronger compliance and enforcement provisions; a right to request flexible work arrangements; new unpaid leaves for family responsibilities, to participate in traditional Indigenous practices and for victims of family violence; and limits on unpaid internships. These amendments to the Code received Royal Assent in December 2017 and will come into force as soon as the necessary regulations are in place.

  • The consultations on modernizing federal labour standards resulted in:

    • more than 10,000 visits to the online consultation page;
    • 3,138 survey participants;
    • 23 personal stories;
    • 45 online expert discussion forum posts;
    • four high-level roundtables; and
    • 25 written submissions. 

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
veronique.simard@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
819-654-5611

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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