The Canadian federal government introduced the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 in 2015. The Act has now received Royal Assent. Key amendments introduced by the Act include but are not limited to the following:
- Employees will be permitted to take maternity leave up to 13 weeks prior to their due date (instead of 11 weeks prior to their due date);
- Parental leave will increase from 37 weeks to 63 weeks;
- Parents as well as family members of a critically ill child will be able to take a 37 weeks’ leave if they are otherwise eligible to do so;
- Employees with a critically ill family member will be able to take a 17 weeks’ leave if they are otherwise eligible to do so;
- Employers will become liable to pay new administrative monetary penalties for certain Code Employers and management/supervisory employees may both be liable to pay these penalties. The Code provisions that would be able to trigger the potential payment of administrative penalties are yet to be identified in the regulations;
- Inspectors will have the power to issue compliance orders in order to enforce compliance with hours of work, wages, vacations and holiday standards;
- Employers may be ordered to conduct internal audits to determine compliance with respect to these standards;
- Unjust dismissal complaints will be adjudicated by the Canada Industrial Relations Board, rather than by individual adjudicators.
The above-noted amendments will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. No such order appears to have been issued at the time of writing.
Federally regulated employers should carefully review the Code amendments brought in by the Act. If you employ workers in Canada and you are unsure whether your business is federally regulated, please seek expert legal advice from your Canadian labour and employment counsel.