Minister O’Regan welcomes report on the right to disconnect
February 10, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
In today’s world of work, the increased availability of mobile technologies and the rising number of Canadians working from home have blurred the lines between what it means to be “at work” and “not at work.” Workers are often required to be constantly available, which can impact their mental health. This is an increasing challenge for many Canadians, with nearly half reporting that their mental health worsened during the pandemic.
With this in mind, the Government committed to developing a right-to-disconnect policy, in consultation with federally regulated employers and labour groups, so that workers can disconnect at the end of a workday without worrying about job security and can restore a healthy work-life balance.
Today, the Government published the Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee’s final report, which provides recommendations to the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr. Over the course of its work, the Committee considered feedback from federally regulated employers, unions and representatives from other jurisdictions, as well as submissions made by Canadians and stakeholders through the Government’s online consultation platform.
The Report outlines a series of recommendations, which reflect both the unique perspectives of committee members and areas of consensus, including the following:
- Employees should be paid for work performed.
- Establishing a positive work-life balance is a key goal of both employers and workers.
- There is a need for flexibility for both workers and employers.
The Government is considering all recommendations made by the Committee and intends to bring forward a plan for a right-to-disconnect policy in Canada.
“The biggest battleground for mental health right now is the workplace. The line between work and home has become blurred by the pandemic, and boundaries are more important than ever. We’re committed to a right-to-disconnect policy in Canada, and I welcome the Committee’s recommendations.”
– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
The Right to Disconnect Advisory Committee held a series of 12 meetings from October 2020 to June 2021. From March 18 to April 20, 2021, the Government provided stakeholders and Canadians with the opportunity to share their views on the right to disconnect through an online consultation.
The right to disconnect emerged in France in 2017 as part of a new set of labour laws. The French law mandates that employers with 50 or more employees have a policy that addresses the use of smartphones.
The federally regulated sector is composed of workplaces from a broad range of industries, including interprovincial air, rail, road and marine transportation; pipelines; banks; and postal and courier services.
There are approximately 18,500 employers in federally regulated industries, including federal Crown corporations that together employ 955,000 people (about 6% of all employees in Canada), the vast majority (87%) of whom work in medium-sized to large firms (that is, companies with 100 or more employees).
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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