Government of Canada strengthens enforcement measures to better protect rights of employees in federally regulated workplaces

News release

December 23, 2020            Gatineau, Quebec            Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to making sure that workers in federally regulated workplaces are respected and protected. That is why the Government has significantly modernized the
Canada Labour Code and its compliance and enforcement provisions in recent years.

Today, the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, announced that the
final Regulations required to enact the new Part IV (Administrative Monetary Penalties) of the Canada Labour Code are now published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The new Part IV of the Code, which comes into force on January 1, 2021, establishes an Administrative Monetary Penalties System that penalizes employers who do not comply with the Code’s health and safety or labour standards. Once the new Part IV is in force, employers who do not comply with the Code’s occupational health and safety or labour standards provisions could face a monetary penalty of up to $250,000.

Monetary penalties will be calculated based on the type of violation, the size of business and any previous monetary penalties for violations of same or higher classification. To provide employers with more time to adjust to these changes, monetary penalties for administrative violations—for example, record keeping and reporting requirements—will not be imposed until January 1, 2022.

The Administrative Monetary Penalties System is a new enforcement tool that stands as an intermediary between existing voluntary compliance measures and prosecution. Administrative monetary penalties, along with the ability to name violators, will create stronger incentives for employers to comply with their obligations and help ensure employees are better protected. These new measures are in addition to other important changes the Government is moving forward with, such as new pay transparency requirements, workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations, and a proactive pay equity system to help address wage gaps in federally regulated workplaces. Together, these efforts will help create workplaces where workers feel safe, valued, included and secure.

To help stakeholders understand the new provisions of the Code and the Regulations, the Government will make tools and guidance available on Canada.ca. Employers are encouraged to contact the Labour Program at 1-800-641-4049 if they need assistance understanding the new regulatory requirements.

Quotes

“By creating Part IV of the Canada Labour Code, we are moving ahead with an Administrative Monetary Penalties System. This tool will help promote compliance with occupational health and safety while also improving labour standards. Improved working conditions and greater compliance with the Code will provide a better environment that enables workers to reach their potential, which benefits employers, the economy and all Canadians.”

– The Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi 

Quick facts

  • The Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations made under the new Part IV of the Code will prescribe key elements, including the:

    • designation of violations for which a monetary penalty can be issued;
    • determination of the penalty amount payable for each violation;
    • reduction of the penalty amount for reason of early payment;
    • method by which the penalty amount may be paid;
    • manner in which a Notice of Violation may be served; and
    • calculation of wages due to an employee for the time spent at an appeal proceeding that would otherwise have been time spent at work.
     
  • The Government expects this more robust compliance and enforcement regime to contribute to:

    • a decrease in disabling injuries and fatalities in the workplace;
    • a decrease in unlawful treatment of employees such as unjust dismissals, unpaid wages or working hours above the maximum hours of work; and
    • mitigating experiences of discrimination, harassment and violence in the workplace.
     
  • The coming into force of the new Part IV of the Code on January 1, 2021, will also:

    • bring into force another new enforcement tool available under Part III (Labour Standards) of the Code, compliance orders, which will require employers to cease a contravention and take any specified steps within a stated period;
    • help address the misclassification of employees by prohibiting employers from treating them as though they are not their employees (for example, classifying an employee as an independent contractor) and requiring employers to prove otherwise if a complaint is filed under Part III of the Code; and
    • establish a new Head of Compliance and Enforcement who will exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions related to day-to-day administration and enforcement of Part II (Occupational Health and Safety), Part III (Labour Standards) and Part IV (Administrative Monetary Penalties) of the Code.
     

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Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Lars Wessman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi
873-396-0742

lars.wessman@labour-travail.gc.ca

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