Government of Canada launches consultations to ensure labour protections meet new realities of working Canadians
March 18, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
Modern digital communications have been changing the way we work for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of this change. The Government of Canada knows that labour protections must continue to evolve to ensure safe and decent working conditions for all workers.
Today, the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, invited Canadians to participate in an online consultation to share their views on:
- gig work (where workers enter into short-term contracts to complete specific and often one-off tasks, generally through digital platforms) in federally regulated sectors; and
- a “right to disconnect” and its potential benefits for federally regulated workers, for example, improving work-life balance by setting clear expectations around the use of cellphones after the workday is done.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gig workers’ vulnerability and Canadians’ dependence on them to provide essential services. The pandemic has also meant that more Canadians are now working from home, blurring the lines between their home and work lives.
The consultation is open to everyone, and includes a discussion forum and a space to share stories about what it’s like to work in Canada today. Feedback from the consultation will help inform how labour protections could potentially be adapted for gig workers and how a policy on the “right to disconnect” could support work-life balance and workers’ well-being in federally regulated workplaces. Individuals have until April 30, 2021, to share their views.
To move forward on these and other issues, the Government will hold further consultations with stakeholders in the coming months to better understand gig workers’ experiences in federally regulated sectors, including those working on digital platforms. Additionally, the Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from federally regulated employers, unions and other organizations, is currently holding a series of meetings and will provide recommendations once the work is complete.
“We’ve already taken significant steps toward modernizing the Canada Labour Code to ensure that federal labour standards reflect today’s workplace realities. However, there is more work to be done to ensure that the standards keep up with the rapid pace of change driven by digital communications technology. It is important for me to hear the views of employers, unions and the public on the challenges they are facing so that we can make informed decisions on how to make sure that both workers and employers are treated fairly in this new world of work.”
– Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi
One of the Minister of Labour’s mandate commitments is to co-develop, with employers and labour groups, a policy that would give federally regulated workers the “right to disconnect.” The Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from federally regulated employers, unions and other organizations, is currently holding a series of meetings, which began in October 2020. The committee is tasked with providing recommendations to the Minister of Labour on how to move forward with this commitment.
Another of the Minister of Labour’s mandate commitments is to develop greater labour protections for people who work through digital platforms, whose status is not clearly covered by provincial or federal laws. A growing share of Canada’s workforce is made up of gig workers—workers who enter into short-term contracts with firms or individuals to complete specific and often one-off tasks.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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