Minister Hajdu welcomes introduction of legislation to support good quality jobs
November 1, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
A strong middle class depends on a job market where everyone has a real and fair chance at success. Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, announced changes to federal labour standards to better protect Canadian workers and help set the stage for good quality jobs.
The nature of work is changing and a modern set of federal labour standards that reflect workplace realities will better protect Canadian workers and help employers recruit and retain employees. That means more productivity in the workplace.
Legislation tabled this week will make changes to improve employees’ eligibility for entitlements such as general holiday pay, sick leave, maternity leave and parental leave. They will also improve work–life balance by introducing new breaks and leaves, including a new 5-day personal leave and 5 days of paid leave for victims of family violence. Changes will also ensure that employees in precarious work are paid equally and have fair access to the same entitlements as their full-time counterparts.
The legislation also introduces improvements to the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) that will increase the maximum financial support provided to workers who are owed wages when their employer files for bankruptcy or enters receivership.
Finally, the Minister will be recommending a regulation extending the protection of remuneration levels to workers covered by a collective agreement at airports and airlines following contract retendering. The practices of contract retendering or “contract-flipping” are serious issues at some Canadian airports and we are taking action. We will work with stakeholders during the regulatory process to ensure we get this right.
“Bringing federal labour standards into the 21st century will strengthen the middle class. Better working conditions are good for business and benefit both workers and employers. When economic growth is inclusive, and fewer Canadians are left behind, we are all better off.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Federal labour standards are set out in Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code). They establish the basic rights (e.g. hours of work, wages, leaves and holidays) of employees in federally regulated private sector industries, such as banking, telecommunications and interprovincial and international transportation. They also help create a level playing field for employers by requiring them to meet these standards. They have remained largely unchanged since they were first established in the 1960s.
Between May 2017 and March 2018, the Government consulted with Canadians, stakeholders and experts on the changing nature of work and how federal labour standards could be updated to better reflect current workplace realities. One strong message was repeated throughout the consultations: The way Canadians work has changed, but federal labour standards have not. These consultations also made it clear there are a number of complex issues related to federal labour standards and the changing nature of work that require more in-depth review and discussion. These will be studied by an Expert Panel, to be announced shortly.
Up to $50.7 million over five years starting in 2019-20 and up to $12.2M on-going will be allocated to support implementation and enforcement of the labour standards amendments, including education and awareness, training, and increased resources for proactive enforcement activities and to ensure timely resolution of complaints.
The WEPP provides financial support to Canadian workers, under federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions who are owed money when their employer files for bankruptcy or becomes subject to a receivership.
Through Budget Implementation Act 2018, No. 2, the Government of Canada also introduced proactive pay equity legislation that would ensure that women and men working in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal private sector, the federal public service, parliamentary workplaces, and Ministers’ offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
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