Federal Omnibus Bill Employment Law Changes Passed

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018, and other measures received royal assent December 13, 2018. This new law extensively amends the Canada Labour Code, makes changes to the Employment Insurance Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and introduces a federal Pay Equity Act.

Details on the employment law related changes found in the Bill were previously posted on Slaw here. Below is a brief summary on the changes.

1. Changes to the Canada Labour Code enacted

The legislation makes changes to improve employees’ eligibility for entitlements such as general holiday pay, sick leave, maternity leave and parental leave. It also improves 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.

The Canada Labour Code provisions will be proclaimed in force within 18 months of the date of royal assent. Employers will need to keep abreast of the effective dates for the changes under Bill C-86 to ensure that they are in compliance. It is expected that provisions regarding the Canada Labour Code will come into force sometime in 2019. These CLC provisions will require updates to several HR policies and practices. So it is important you familiarize yourself with these changes before they come into force.

2. New federal pay equity law

The new Pay Equity Act will come into force on proclamation when regulations outlining the details are filed. In the meantime, employers need to prepare and familiarize themselves with the provisions found in Bill C-86. The Act to Establish a Proactive Pay Equity Regime within the Federal Public and Private Sectors (Pay Equity Act) will establish a proactive approach to achieve pay equity and will require employers falling within its scope to actively examine their compensation practices to ensure that men and woman are compensated equally for work of equal value.

3. Changes to the Employment Insurance Act enacted

Bill C-86 makes changes to parental leave EI benefits under the Employment Insurance Act. The EI provisions are set to come into force around March 2019, but will be proclaimed in force in the Canada Gazette first with a firm date. Changes to the Employment Insurance Act include among other things, increasing the maximum number of weeks from 35 to 40 weeks and from 61 to 69 weeks for which parental benefits may be paid if these benefits are divided between claimants-depending on their selection.

4. Changes to the Wage Earner Protection Program

Bill C-86 make changes to the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to increase the maximum financial support provided to workers who are owed wages when their employer files for bankruptcy or enters receivership. The increase to the maximum payment applies retroactively to bankruptcies or receivership that occurred on or after February 27, 2018, the day the budget was tabled. The WEPP provisions will come into force by proclamation within the next 18 months.

Again, details on the above amendments can be found in a previous Slaw post here.

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