Global Compliance Desk – Canada


With continuous changes in compliance around the globe, Replicon’s goal is to make sure you’re never a step behind. Recently, there have been some key developments implemented in Canada Federal Employment Law. Canada’s Federal Labor Code, which establishes minimum standards for employment in federally regulated workplaces, was amended in late 2017 by Bill C-63 – Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2. This introduced several significant employment related legislative changes to the labor code.

Read on as we cover them below in detail.

1. Overtime Pay Amendments:

When your employees have worked overtime, they’ve got a couple options. They can choose to receive pay at 1.5x their normal rate, or exchange that for some unpaid time off – 1.5 hours for every hour of overtime worked. There are a few conditions:

  • You and your employee must agree on the dates of time off;
  • They must take this time off within three months of the pay period they worked overtime. This can be extended up to 12 months if everyone collectively agrees to it;
  • If this banked time isn’t taken within the applicable period, it must be paid out within 30 days;
  • If the employee leaves or no longer works at your company, the banked time must be paid out within 30 days of their departure.

Additionally, employees now have the right to refuse to work overtime if it interferes with any family responsibility provided for under the new Family Responsibility Leave (see below for details).

2. Shift Scheduling Amendments

This new provision requires that if you change or extend an employee’s period or shift, you must give them a 24-hour notice. With the knowledge that not everything can be guaranteed with 24-hour notice, there are a few exceptions:

  • A threat to the life, health or safety of a person;
  • A threat of damage or loss to property;
  • A completely unforeseen interference with the company’s day-to-day functioning.

3. Flexible Work Arrangement Amendments:

After completing 6 consecutive months of employment, an employee can now request (in writing) a change to his/her number of hours, work schedule, or work location. You are expected to issue a written response within 30 days. You are given the choices to grant the request or offer to grant it in part. You may also refuse the request if it would result in:

  • Additional costs that would be a genuine strain on the company;
  • A detrimental impact on the quality or quantity of work, ability to meet customer demands, or any other aspect of professional performance;
  • An inability to reorganize work among existing employees, or recruit additional employees to manage the request;
  • Insufficient work available for the employee; or
  • Any other prescribed ground prescribed by regulation (i.e., company, state, etc).

4. Annual Vacation Amendments

Employees can now take all their vacation days in one go; or if requested in writing, several different periods.

If the employee opts to take their vacation all at once, they must be paid the full amount of vacation days beforehand. Same for those who choose to take their vacation in several different periods – they must be paid for that number of days before each period.

Vacation can be interrupted for a few certain leave of absences. If that happens, the employee must give you written notice of the interruption and subsequent resumption of vacation. The amendment also allows for employees to postpone the balance of a vacation period for those who commence certain statutory leaves in the middle of a vacation period.

5. Bereavement Leave Amendments

Bereavement leave has been extended from 3 to 5 days. The first three days are paid, and the second two are unpaid. It can be taken beginning on the day of the immediate family member’s death, until six weeks after any funeral, burial or memorial service. It can also be taken in separate periods totalling five days.

6. New Unpaid Leaves

Bill C-63 introduced three new unpaid leaves:

Family Responsibility Leave
Three days per year are available for employees who have completed at least three months of continuous employment. They can be used for family responsibilities related to the health or care of any family members, or the education of any of the employee’s family members under the age of 18. These days can be taken in periods of one day or more.

Leave for Victims of Family Violence

When an employee is a victim of family violence, or the parent of child who is a victim, they are entitled to a leave of up to 10 days per year. These periods can be used one day or more at a time. This leave can be used for:

  • Seeking medical attention for the employee or their child;
  • Obtaining services from an organization servicing victims of family violence;
  • Obtaining psychological or other professional counselling;
  • Relocating temporarily or permanently; or
  • Seeking legal or law enforcement assistance, or to prepare for or participate in a legal proceeding.

Leave for Traditional Aboriginal Practices

Any Aboriginal employee (defined as Indian, Inuit or Métis), with three months of completed continuous employment can now take 5 days per calendar year to engage in traditional Aboriginal practices including hunting, fishing and harvesting. The leave can be taken in one day periods or more.

*In conjunction with this change, the federal government implemented changes to rules surrounding maternity and parental leave benefits, and well as new caregiving benefits under the Employment Insurance Act.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach us at

Kalyani Kutty
Kalyani Kutty
A labor and employment lawyer at Replicon who specializes in global compliance. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. Replicon is an industry leader in global compliance and has a dedicated team which pro-actively monitors international labor regulations for ensuring proper adherence with specific country rule requirements.
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