Minister Hajdu at Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to talk good quality jobs

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Minister Hajdu at Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to talk good quality jobs

News release

November 2, 2018 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada understands that the nature of work is changing, and recent consultations with Canadians, stakeholders and experts confirmed the need to take action to ensure that federal labour standards reflect the realities of 21st century workplaces.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, met with Canadian business leaders at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to discuss legislation introduced earlier this week that will modernize these standards to better protect Canadian workers and help set the stage for good quality jobs, while helping employers face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Federal labour standards have remained largely unchanged since the 1960s, when most Canadians worked stable, 9 to 5 jobs. While many employers already have standards in place that exceed what’s in the Canada Labour Code, for some employees in the federally regulated private sector, these standards are the only protections they have.

The legislation will, among other things, make changes to improve employees’ eligibility for entitlements such as general holiday pay, sick leave, maternity leave and parental leave. They will also improve work–life balance by introducing new breaks and leaves, including a new 5-day personal leave and 5 days of paid leave for victims of family violence. Changes will also ensure that employees in precarious work are paid equally and have fair access to the same entitlements as their full-time counterparts. Higher labour standards can benefit employers, as well, by reducing absenteeism, improving recruitment and retention, and improving employee well-being, all of which can lead to an increase in productivity.

Through Budget Implementation Act 2018, No. 2, the Government of Canada also introduced proactive pay equity legislation and improvements to the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP). Proactive pay equity legislation will ensure that women and men working in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal private sector, the federal public service, parliamentary workplaces, and Ministers’ offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value. Improvements to the WEPP will increase the maximum financial support provided to workers who are owed wages when their employer files for bankruptcy or enters receivership.

“Fairness and inclusion are the heart of Canada’s future economic success. Our economy is stronger and more prosperous when everyone has a chance to step up to the plate. Employees who are treated fairly and who come to work feeling supported by their employers are able to do their best work and innovate, which can create a better working environment and lead to long-term gains for employers. It’s a win-win for everyone”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts

  • Up to $50.7 million over five years starting in 2019-20 and up to $12.2M on-going will be allocated to support implementation and enforcement of the labour standards amendments, including education and awareness, training, and increased resources for proactive enforcement activities and to ensure timely resolution of complaints.

  • Federal labour standards are set out in Part III of the Canada Labour Code (Code). They establish the basic rights (e.g. hours of work, wages, leaves and holidays) of employees in federally regulated private sector industries, such as banking, telecommunications, and interprovincial and international transportation. They also help create a level playing field for employers by requiring them to meet these standards.

  • Between May 2017 and March 2018, the government consulted with Canadians, stakeholders and experts on the changing nature of work and how federal labour standards could be updated to better reflect current workplace realities. One strong message was repeated throughout the consultations: The way Canadians work has changed, but federal labour standards have not. These consultations also made it clear there are a number of complex issues related to federal labour standards and the changing nature of work that require more in-depth review and discussion. These will be studied by an Expert Panel, to be announced shortly.

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