Government of Canada to provide better work-life balance for middle-class families

News release

August 29, 2019           Gatineau, Quebec                    Employment and Social Development Canada

Many Canadians struggle to support their families while balancing work duties. They may work several jobs, face unpredictable hours, and lack access to benefits and certain labour standards. Their jobs may also be low-paid, part-time and temporary. Modernizing federal labour standards, which have remained relatively unchanged since they were established in the 1960s, is part of the Government’s plan to create good‑quality jobs and strengthen the middle class.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that changes to the Canada Labour Code that provide better work-life balance and strengthen workplace standards in federally regulated workplaces will come into effect on September 1, 2019. Among other things, these changes will make it easier to take time off to care for a sick loved one, will deliver quicker access to maternity and parental leave, and will provide paid leave days to workers dealing with family violence.

Better working conditions and work-life balance lead to increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and enhanced recruitment and retention. This is good for both business and workers. These changes will also support higher participation of women in the workforce, lead to greater gender equality, and improve working conditions for vulnerable workers.

Recognizing that not all workplaces are alike, the Government will continue to work with employers and employees by providing guidance on implementation that reflects their unique needs.


“The nature of work is changing, and a modern set of federal labour standards that reflect today’s workplace realities will better protect Canadian workers and help set the stage for good-quality jobs. Modern labour standards that reflect today’s workplace realities are also good for employers and our economy, because when we ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive and to succeed, we create inclusive economic growth. That means that fewer Canadians are left behind and we are all better off.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts

  • Federal labour standards apply to the federally regulated private sector, as well as to most federal Crown corporations and certain activities on First Nations reserves.

  • Amendments coming into force on September 1, 2019 to help workers achieve better work‑life balance include, among others:

    • new leaves such as personal leave of up to 5 days, including 3 days with pay, and leave for victims of family violence of up to 10 days with 5 days paid;
    • leave for traditional Indigenous practices of up to 5 unpaid days;
    • unpaid leave for court or jury duty;
    • expanded bereavement leave from 3 to 5 days, 3 of them paid;
    • improved access to many existing leaves (e.g. critical illness, death/disappearance of a child and reservist leave) and general holiday pay by eliminating length of service requirements;
    • increased annual vacation entitlements (3 weeks after 5 years of service, 4 weeks after 10 years of service);
    • new breaks and rest periods (medical and nursing breaks, work breaks); and
    • medical leave (covering personal illness or accident, organ/tissue donation and medical appointments).

    For a complete list of changes, please consult the backgrounder on flexible work arrangements and modernizing labour standards.

Associated links


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

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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