Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) – September 1, 2019 Amendments

Amendments to the CLC have come into force effective September 1, 2019. The CLC applies to only federal undertakings such as railways, airlines and shipping. A summary of the changes are as follows. Reference should be made to the language of the amendments for complete details.

1. Rest Periods and Scheduling

  • Employees are entitled to a 30 minute unpaid break for every 5 consecutive hours of work.
  • Employees are entitled to a rest period of at least 8 hours between shifts except in the case of an emergency.
  • Employers must provide written notice at least 24 hours before a shift change.
  • Employers must provide employees with their work schedule, in writing, at least 96 hours before the start of the employee’s first work period/shift under that schedule. If not, an employee can refuse to do any work that starts within 96 hours from the time that the schedule was provided except in the case of an emergency.
  • Every employee is entitled to unpaid breaks necessary for medical reasons, and every employee nursing is entitled to unpaid breaks to do so.

2. Hours of work and overtime

  • When working overtime, employees may request either overtime pay or time in lieu.
  • Employees may refuse overtime due to family responsibilities except in case of emergency.
  • Employees may request flexible work arrangements with respect to work schedule and location of work.

3. Leaves

  • There is no minimum length of service required for medical leave, maternity and parental leave, leave related to critical illness, and leave related to death or disappearance of a child.
  • The CLC now provides for family violence leave, personal leave, and enhanced bereavement leave. Employers must pay portions of these leaves for employees with three months of continuous service.
  • The CLC now also provides for leave for court or jury duty, traditional Aboriginal practices leave, and medical leave. These leaves are unpaid.
  • Existing sick leave provisions have been renamed “medical leave” and will now encompass organ donation and medical appointments.
  • If a medical leave of absence is three days or longer, the employer may require that an employee provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner certifying that the employee was incapable of working.

4. Vacation

  • Vacation entitlements are as follows:
Service (Years)Entitlement
1 or more2 weeks and 4% vacation pay
5 or more3 weeks and 6% vacation pay
10 or more4 weeks and 8% vacation pay
  • There is no minimum length of service requirement for general holiday pay. Holiday pay must equal 1/20th of the employee’s wages (excluding overtime earnings) for the four-week period immediately preceding the week in which the holiday occurs.
  • Employees may take their vacation in more than one period and are entitled to receive a proportion of their accumulated annual vacation pay for each period taken.
  • Employees may interrupt or postpone a vacation for certain leaves.
  • Employees are entitled to extend vacation time where one or more general holiday occurs during their annual vacation.

The federal Labour Program has also published interpretation policies and guidelines (IPGs) related to the amendments. These may be found here.

The IPGs refer to Regulations which are still to come and will provide for any exemptions or modifications.

For more information on the above changes, please contact one of the lawyers in our Labour + Employment Practice Group.

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