As you may have noticed, there is a natural hierarchy of employers and employees. Labour laws address this inequality of power so both parties can negotiate.
Without labour laws, you will not have a functioning workforce. So if you are an employee or an employer, below are some of the things you should know about Labour Laws to avoid any legal repercussions.
Are You Covered Under Federal or Provincial Canadian Labour Laws?
Labour laws are not the same or equal across the country because about 90% of them are under the provincial level.
Still, some industries are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. And federal law is not limited to just one province.
Businesses that are under the federal labor laws are:
- Canals, railways, telegraph, or any other businesses connecting provinces, including those that cross provincial borders
- Business or projects that involve shipping and navigation
- Aircraft, air transportation, and aerodromes
- Radio stations.
- Canadian banks and other banks under section 2 of the Bank Act
- Businesses that Parliament deems significant for the country, or at least 2 provinces
- Businesses under the Ocean Act
- Telecommunication operations covered by the Federal Telecommunication Act
- Crown corporations
Federal labour laws will also cover businesses not under the exclusive authority of provincial labor laws.
Work Hours and Federal Holidays
Federal laws protect employees from overworking and are entitled to general holidays.
You will need to compensate your employees if they work on general holidays with either holiday pay, time banking, or both. The exact amount depends on the employment contract as long as it meets the minimum standard of the law.
The standard number for work hours in Canada is 8 hours. But many industries practice a 12-hour shift, which is a modified work schedule. Any hour that exceeds is considered overtime.
The standard workweek is 48 hours, and any hour that exceeds is also overtime.
It’s possible to adjust these standards by agreements of unions and employers, but they still need to meet the minimum set out by the Labour Code. It’s also possible to adjust them with a federal ministerial permit if all criteria are met, of course.
Dismissal, Being Laid off, and Quitting
Canadian Labour Laws protect employees from getting dismissed or laid off without proper compensation or notice.
Typically, an employer will inform their employee at least two weeks before the termination by sending a written notice explaining the reason.
There are exceptions to this like:
- If an employee does an action that calls for immediate termination
- If the employer gives monetary compensation worth two weeks of wage to take place, the two-week notice (minimum)
On the other hand, employees don’t have to give a two-week notice when they terminate their employment. Unless, of course, their contract says so.
Occupational Health and Safety Standards
Canada’s Labor Code has set out the Occupational Health and Safety legislation so an employer can meet the minimum standard for workplace health and safety.
If an employer is working with dangerous materials, they need to be informed. And have to receive W.H.M.I.S training to identify them.
If a business has more than 20 employees, it needs to have a Health and Safety Committee, and they will post inspections and minutes of their meetings for employees to see.
Other standards include:
- First aid and safety equipment
- Personal protective equipment for jobs that require them
- Minimum sanitary and health standards
- Maintenance of equipment
- Fire and other emergency measures
- Safety standards to reduce accidents
Job Reassignment or Necessary Leave
If an employee is nursing their child or has a medical certificate that hinders their work, they can request up to 24 weeks of modified work to meet their needs. An employer will then have to explain the modified duties of an employee. If employers cannot give any modified duties, monetary compensation, or a leave of absence will suffice.
If a parent is expecting a child, they can be given up to 63 weeks to spend time at home. There is also a provision that allows parents to take care of their child for up to 17 weeks.
Labour laws are essential because they ensure employee-employer relationships are balanced. If you have any questions and further inquiries, it would be best to ask lawyers like Wylie spears labor lawyers, who specialize in labor laws. So you can avoid any legal repercussions.