Recent/upcoming changes to the Canada Labour Code, Pay Equity Act, and accessibility legislation

There were several amendments to the Canada Labour Code made in 2023, in addition to notice of proposed changes for 2024. This post recaps some of the key legislative changes impacting federally regulated workplace and provides an overview of what to anticipate this year.

Recap of 2023 CLC amendments

In June and July of 2023, the following key amendments were made for federally regulated workplaces:  

  • Employers must make their employees aware of their rights and obligations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code relating to Occupational Health & Safety within 90 days of their start date. This includes posting materials, providing them in an employee handbook or safety policy, or providing other means of ensuring employees have this information.  
  • Employers must provide written terms and conditions regarding roles for each existing and new employee (i.e., in an employment agreement, job description, and/or handbook). This must include their title, brief overview of duties, description of necessary qualifications/ training, work address, start date, term, duration of probation, hours of work, pay/frequency of pay, mandatory deductions from wages, and information about how they can claim reimbursement of expenses.
  • Employers must reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses within 30 days.
  • The minimum age of employment was raised from 17 to 18, except in the case of specific non-hazardous occupations. Where employees under 18 are permitted to work, they cannot do so between 11pm and 6am.   

Employers who don’t put these measures in place may face fines and other penalties.

Updated termination provisions under the CLC effective February 2024

Effective February 1, 2024, federally regulated private sector employers who terminate without cause will be required to follow increased notice or pay in lieu of notice requirements. Current Canada Labour Code provisions require that you provide 2 weeks of notice or pay in lieu of notice (plus severance) regardless of length of service. The amendments align termination provisions largely in line with most provincial requirements (albeit higher within the first year) which requires the following:

  • At least three months of employment (but less than 3 years) – 2 weeks’ notice
  • At least three years of employment – 3 weeks’ notice
  • At least four years of employment – 4 weeks’ notice
  • At least five years of employment – 5 weeks’ notice
  • At least six years of employment – 6 weeks’ notice
  • At least seven years of employment – 7 weeks’ notice
  • At least eight years of employment – 8 weeks’ notice

In addition to the above, current provisions related to severance pay and the Code’s unjust dismissal conditions continue to be in effect.

If your employment agreements and/or employee handbooks/policies specify the former provisions, these will need to be updated accordingly.

Pay Equity Act in full force by September 2024

Further to our 2023 post, federally regulated organizations with 10+ employees have until September 3, 2024 to be compliant with the Pay Equity Act. Currently, Indigenous governing bodies, council operations, and administrations are exempt from following the Act.

Accessibility legislation comes into effect June 2024

While accessibility legislation came into force for private sector employees with 100+ employees in June 2023, for those with 10 to 99 employees, it will come into effect on June 1, 2024. This is the date for which an initial accessibility plan is due. From there, organizations will need to publish reports on their progress after two years and the plan must be updated every three years.

This legislation is further to the Accessible Canada Act which is intended to identify, remove, and prevent barriers related to all stages of employment. Currently, the Act is in the draft standard stage, which sets out proposed standards for a work environment that is “accessible, inclusive, barrier-free, and free of discrimination”.

Jouta’s HR Consultants can help you prepare for/address materials associated with Canada Labour Code amendments.