10 days of paid sick leave now in force for nearly 1 million federally regulated workers across Canada

News release

December 1, 2022        Gatineau, Quebec                               Employment and Social Development Canada

Last year, the Government of Canada committed to providing 10 days of paid sick leave for workers in the federally regulated private sector. 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, Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced that 10 days of paid sick leave (medical leave with pay) is now a reality in all federally regulated private sector workplaces. As of today, the legislation and the final regulations, available online, are now in force. The Minister met with workers at the Ottawa VIA Rail train station to mark the announcement.

This is a significant milestone that represents a permanent change to the Canada Labour Code. It will empower workers to prioritize their health and will improve working conditions for the nearly 1 million workers in the federally regulated private sector. Among other things, having access to paid sick leave is expected to reduce the number of days workers show up to work sick, reduce the spread of illness in the workplace, and help Canadians recover from illness faster.

Workers who have been continuously employed for at least 30 days will have access to their first three days of paid sick leave as of December 31, 2022. Starting on February 1, 2023, workers will acquire a fourth day of paid sick leave and will continue to accumulate one day of paid sick leave on the first day of each month following, up to a maximum of 10 days per year. To support employers in the implementation of these changes, the Labour Program has been hosting information sessions and has made guidance material available online. Stakeholders are also encouraged to contact the Labour Program at 1-800-641-4049 for help understanding and implementing these important changes.

As of December 18, 2022, the maximum length of unpaid medical leave will also be extended. It is being increased from 17 to 27 weeks to align with the extension of the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. 


“One thing COVID-19 made crystal clear is that when you’re sick, you should stay home. Ten days of paid sick leave means that more workers won’t have to choose between getting well and getting paid. That’s good for workers and their families, and it’s good for business, too.”

– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

“Employees are the beating heart of Canada’s banking industry and our biggest source of strength. When they’re sick, employees shouldn’t have to choose between staying home and getting better, or going to work and getting paid. At the Canadian Bankers Association and across the banking sector, we want our workplaces—and our workers—to be safe and healthy. The federal government is doing the right thing with 10 days of paid sick leave.”

– Anthony G. Ostler, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Bankers Association

“On behalf of our members and their families, Teamsters Canada applauds this government for not only recognizing the benefits of a healthy workforce to the workplace and the economy, but for taking decisive action that shows it values workers’ health and safety as integral to the prosperity of our industries.”

– Mariam Abou-Dib, Executive Director, Teamsters Canada 

“Paid sick days are an absolute necessity to ensure workplace safety and to protect public health. Unifor welcomes this ground-breaking guaranteed benefit of 10 paid sick days from the federal government. To have adequate paid sick leave in the federal sector is a major step, but every provincial government must now follow suit by introducing or improving paid sick days to protect workers in their jurisdictions.”

– Lana Payne, National President, Unifor

"Canada's unions thank the government and parliamentarians for advancing this critical legislation. This was made possible by all of the workers and their unions who fought long and hard to make 10 days of paid sick leave a reality for workers in the federally regulated private sector. We hope the federal government’s leadership is replicated by all other jurisdictions to ensure every worker have access to paid sick days when they are ill.”

– Bea Bruske, President, Canadian Labour Congress

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 federally regulated private sector employees with up to 10 days of leave per year. Employees also 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. As of December 18, 2022, the changes extending the maximum length of unpaid medical leave to 27 weeks, and adding quarantine to the list of reasons for which 27 weeks of medical leave can be taken, will come into force. This aligns with the upcoming extension to the EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks (the extra week of leave takes into account the EI waiting period). 

  • 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 a majority of employees. 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Hartley Witten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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