Hours of work – IPG-002

Effective date: January 11, 1989

Revised date: January 9, 2023

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This Interpretation, Policy and Guideline (IPG) is intended to clarify the definition of hours of work pursuant to Division I, Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code).


There is a need to clarify:


The meaning of the term “work”

In general, an employee is performing “work" when the employee:

Note: “employees” also includes “interns”. Student interns are entitled to some of these hours of work provisions.

Compensating overtime for time-off in lieu

Section 174 of the Code stipulates that employers must pay their employees for overtime. It also specifies that compensating overtime for time off in lieu is allowed. It is only allowed provided the leave accumulated is calculated at a rate of 1.5 hours of leave for each overtime hour worked.

The employer must maintain records to show that they are following the practice of providing overtime through time-off in lieu. Employers must clearly record overtime hours worked and time-off at the overtime rate.

There are time-off in lieu provisions included in some collective agreements. However, this IPG is intended for arrangements that are not contained in a collective agreement.

An employer who offers time-off in lieu arrangements, should include the following:

Section 174 of the Code does not apply to student interns who are fulfilling the requirements of their educational program.

Whether the following terms fall within the definition of “hours of work”

Training time

Given the wide interpretations of the meaning of work, the following can be concluded:

The interpretation of training time does not affect the operation of section 11 of the Canada Labour Standards Regulations concerning registered apprenticeship programs.

Travel time

In general travel time is not considered to be hours of work for the purposes of the Code. Some specific industry regulations or collective agreements allow travel time as hours of work. These must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Travel time could be considered work in the following cases:

See: Déménagements Tremblay Express Ltée v. Gauthier, 2018 FC 584

Travel time is not considered work while commuting to and from the usual workplace. It is well accepted by an employee or student intern to get to and from work is generally not considered work time. This is regardless of whether the employee or student intern starts and ends his day at his residence or at the employer’s lodging.

Stand-by or on-call time

Please refer to the definition in Elect-to-work and On-Call or Standby employees IPG-110. While “stand-by” or “on-call” employees are common to many industries, the time spent waiting for a call is not considered work.

Waiting time

“Waiting time” applies mostly in the trucking industry. “Working hours” usually means all hours from the time that a motor vehicle operator begins their work shift until the time they are relieved of their job responsibilities. It does not include certain times:

Generally, “waiting time” is not considered to be “hours of work” to be paid.

Lay-over time

This period is a common occurrence in the road transportation industry.

A “lay-over” occurs when a driver completes their delivery and is awaiting further instructions regarding other possible pick-ups.

The period that the driver is out of service is a lay-over and this is not considered to be hours of work.

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