Minister O’Regan announces final regulations to bring 10 days of paid sick leave into force 

News release

November 7, 2022              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Last year, the Government of Canada introduced 10 days of paid sick leave to the Canada Labour Code to better protect workers, their jobs and their families. Access to paid sick leave keeps workers safe while ensuring that they do not lose pay—because no one should have to choose between staying home when they’re sick or paying their bills.

Today, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced that the final regulations required to bring 10 days of paid sick leave into force on December 1, 2022, are now available on Canada.ca. This is a permanent change to the Canada Labour Code that will empower workers to prioritize their health and will improve the working conditions for the nearly 1 million workers in the federally regulated private sector. Access to paid sick leave promises better health outcomes for workers. Among other things, the new paid sick leave is expected to reduce the number of days workers show up to work sick, reduce the spread of illness, and help workers recover faster.

The regulations were developed and finalized following extensive consultation with stakeholders, including employers and their representatives, unions and advocacy groups. The changes will apply to all federally regulated private sector workplaces.

The final Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code (Medical Leave with Pay) outline essential elements of the new paid sick leave provisions. This includes, among other things, the following:

  • As of December 31, 2022, employees who have been continuously employed for at least 30 days will have access to their first three days of paid sick leave. As of February 1, 2023, employees will acquire a fourth day and will continue to accumulate one day a month up to a maximum of 10 days per year.
  • Employers can request a medical certificate if an employee is absent for five days or more in a row.
  • Employees on paid sick leave who are paid on a basis other than time, such as salespeople paid by commission, will be entitled to the regular rate of wages.

The Government will host information sessions in November, and guidance documents are available online to help stakeholders prepare for the coming into force of these changes on December 1, 2022. Stakeholders are also encouraged to contact the Labour Program at 1-800-641-4049 for help understanding and implementing these important changes.

Quotes

“One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from COVID is that if you feel sick, stay home. Workers shouldn’t have to pay for doing the right thing. Ten days of paid sick leave means they won’t have to.”

– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Quick facts

  • The federally regulated private sector comprises workplaces from a broad range of industries, including interprovincial air, rail, road and marine transportation; banks; and postal and courier services. There are approximately 19,000 employers in federally regulated industries, including federal Crown corporations, that together employ 945,000 people (or 6% of all Canadian employees).

  • Paid sick leave (medical leave with pay) is a paid job-protected leave under Part III of the Canada Labour Code that provides employees in the federally regulated private sector with up to 10 days of leave per year. Employees also currently have access to unpaid medical leave, which currently provides up to 17 weeks if they are unable to work as a result of illness, injury, organ or tissue donation, or attending medical appointments, and up to 16 weeks of leave as a result of quarantine. The Government of Canada is currently working to increase the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to 27 weeks under the Code to align with the upcoming extension to the Employment Insurance sickness benefits (from 15 to 26 weeks).

  • Similar to other provisions of the Canada Labour Code, the new paid sick leave is a minimum standard. If there is an existing employer benefit that is greater than the new leave, that leave or benefit will be considered to meet the minimum standard.

  • Statistics Canada reports that, in 2019, Canadian workers were absent an average of 8.5 days for illness or disability. In a given year, some employees will require no paid sick leave, while others will require 10 days or more. Providing up to 10 days of paid sick leave will cover the needs of the majority of employees. 

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Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jane Deeks
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
343-550-9594
jane.deeks@labour-travail.gc.ca

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