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Changes in Canada’s Labor and Employment Laws

December 30, 2019

The government of Canada has made significant changes to the labor and employment laws that apply to federally regulated businesses — banks, air transport, telephone, radio and television companies, among others. They touch on everything from job scheduling to breaks, vacations, holiday pay and leaves of absence. There is new accessibility legislation, significant changes to labor standards, and revised workplace violence and harassment obligations.

The Accessible Canada Act became law in July 2019. The Act is intended to make Canada’s federal sector barrier-free by January 1, 2040. This year, the government published draft Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations to support a recently passed bill. The regulations will replace the current workplace violence obligations in the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, as well as certain related provisions in the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the On Board Trains Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. Employers will be required to have a workplace violence policy that contains certain required elements, including preventive measures; emergency procedures; a resolution process for receiving, investigating and resolving complaints; and harassment and violence training to new employees.

Earlier this year, the federal government established an independent Expert Panel to provide advice and conduct consultations on further modernization of labor standards.

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