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Leaves & Vacations

Recap of changes proposed by Alberta to modernize workplace legislation

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - All

Set out below are some of the key changes that will be made to Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code if Bill 17 - the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, is passed.

The bill was introduced by the Alberta government on May 24, 2017, one day after Ontario released the final report in its "Changing Workplaces Review" which proposes amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.

The proposed changes to Alberta's legislation are, according to the government, the result of previous government reviews as well as broad consultations with Albertans, employers, business organizations, labour organizations, municipalities, academics, and advocacy groups. The government states that more than 7,000 submissions were received. Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code were both last updated in 1988.

In introducing the changes, the Alberta Minister of Labour, Christina Gray, stated:  read more »

Ontario's "Changing Workplaces Review" final report reccomends significant changes to workplace laws

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - All

On May 23, 2017, the final report from Ontario's "Changing Workplaces Review" was released. The Final Report proposes amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 ("ESA") and Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("LRA") and contains 173 recommendations.

The Ontario report was, notably, released one day before Alberta introduced legislation to modernize its workplace legislation. Specifically, the Alberta bill (Bill 17 - The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act) proposes to amend its Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code to support family-friendly workplaces and bring Alberta's standards into alignment with the rest of Canada. Stay tuned for a post on Alberta's initiative.

Genesis of Ontario's Changing Workplace Review

The 419-page Final Report is the culmination of a review that the Ontario government committed to in the 2014 Throne Speech and the Ontario Minister of Labour's 2014 Mandate Letter in relation to the review stated:  read more »

Labour Minister Leitch and US Secretary Perez discuss paid leave, advancement of women in workplace

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal - United States

The federal Ministry of Labour issued the following news release on December 8, 2014:

Minister Leitch and United States Labor Secretary Tom Perez hold bilateral talks in Ottawa

Minister Leitch and Secretary Perez discussed paid leave and the advancement of women in the workplace

December 8, 2014- Gatineau, Quebec - Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, discussed bilateral labour issues with her American counterpart, the Honorable Tom Perez, United States Secretary of Labor, during his first official visit to Canada.

Secretary Perez expressed an interest in paid leave as a means of boosting labour market participation and wished to learn about Canada's approach to it from Minister Leitch.  read more »

Discriminatory to deny parental benefits to birth mothers because they received pregnancy benefits

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In a rare oral judgment that was issued on November 12, 2014 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Association, 2014 SCC 70 - the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a decision by the BC Court of Appeal and restored the decision of a labour arbitrator concerning top-up benefits provided to teachers who are new parents.

The labour arbitrator, John B. Hall, had ruled that it was discriminatory - under section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code -  to provide the same amount of top-up benefits to birth mothers as birth fathers and adoptive parents.

Specifically, Arbitrator Hall had ruled:  read more »

US EEOC issues updated enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues

Jurisdiction: - United States

On July 14, 2014 the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released updated guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues. Their press release is as follows:

EEOC Issues Updated Enforcement Guidance On Pregnancy Discrimination And Related Issues

Fact Sheet for Small Businesses and Question and Answer Document Also Released  read more »

"To Pay Vacation Pay, Or Not Pay Vacation Pay: That Is The Question "

Two lawyers at McMillan - Paul Boshyk and George Waggott - have written an article for the firm's January 2014 labour and employment bulletin, "To Pay Vacation Pay, Or Not Pay Vacation Pay: That Is The Question".

The article addresses the obligation to compensate a dismissed employee for vacation pay over the notice period. The authors focus on the following Ontario cases:

  • Cronk v Canadian General Insurance Co., (1995), 25 OR (3d) 505 (ONCA) 
  • Garvin v Rockwell International of Canada Ltd., 1993 CarswellOnt 966 (Ct J (GD)) 
  • Emery v Royal Oak Mines Inc., 1995 CarswellOnt 456 (Ct J (GD))

New Brunswick introduces "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act

Jurisdiction: - New Brunswick

The New Brunswick government has introduced "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act. This is the full news  release that was issued on Wednesday, December 3, 2013:

Improvements to Employment Standards Act introduced

The provincial government introduced today amendments to the Employment Standards Act that will improve its ability to protect foreign workers in New Brunswick.

The amendments will create an employer registry that will strengthen the communication of the provincial government with foreign workers and their employers about employment standards and the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.

The amendment adds provisions to ensure employers only recover allowable recruitment and transportation costs from the foreign workers themselves. It clarifies legal practices with respect to foreign worker housing arrangements and the holding of personal documents such as passports and work permits.  read more »

Ontario's Family Caregivers Bill Passes Second Reading

Topics: - Leaves & Vacations
Jurisdiction: - Ontario

The Ontario government issued the following news release on September 25, 2013, concerning the proposed Family Caregivers Bill:

Today, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, passed second reading after debate in the Ontario legislature.  If passed, the bill would allow caregivers to focus their attention on what matters most -- providing care and support to their loved ones -- without the fear of losing their job.

The act would build on the existing Family Medical Leave by creating three new job-protected leaves:

-Family Caregiver Leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care and support to a family member with a
serious medical condition.  read more »