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Employment Law Updates

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employment law updates
Black and white picture of a lone man walking on a stone-paved area, carrying a briefcase, looking at his phone, back to the viewer. Photo by Rafael Idrovo Espinoza on Unsplash

Employment law is often in flux. Below we highlight a few notable employment law updates from across Canada. Some of the changes are already in effect and some will be effective at later dates, yet to be determined.

British Columbia

The recently-passed Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2024 means that BC’s minimum wage will automatically increase June 1 of every year. The increases are tied to the consumer price index. On June 1, 2024, the minimum wage increases from $16.75 to $17.40 per hour.

There are some exceptions, such as wages for agricultural piece workers.

Ontario

On March 21, Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2024 received Royal Assent. The Bill comes into effect in stages: some are immediate, some as of June 21, 2024, and at a later date still to be determined.

Immediate changes:

  • The definition of “employee” is amended so that work during a “trial period” is “training” – this means the trainee must be paid. It effectively eliminates unpaid trial shifts.
  • Employers can’t deduct wages where there’s a loss because a customer left without paying at restaurants, gas stations or other specific establishments.

Changes effective June 21, 2024:

  • Tips must be paid as required by the Regulations.
  • The employee must agree in writing if vacation pay is to be paid in any other way than a lump sum before their vacation; in other words, the employer cannot unilaterally decide on a different method than lump sum.

Changes effective at a later date, still to be determined:

  • Pay transparency – employers will have to disclose a range of expected compensation in publicly advertised job postings.
  • AI disclosure – employers will have to disclose AI use when hiring for publicly advertised job postings
  • No Canadian experience requirement – employers cannot require Canadian experience in publicly advertised job postings
  • Record keeping – employers must keep records (copies) of publicly advertised job postings for three years

There are some additional sections that address specific issues like cancer coverage for firefighters and qualifying for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

PEI

On April 1, 2024, minimum wage in PEI increased to $15.40 per hour and will increase again to $16 per hour on October 1, 2024.

Bill 106, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, which received Royal Assent on November 29, 2023 and will come into effect on October 1, 2024, creates a new paid sick leave. Employees are entitled to:

  • One day paid sick leave after 12 months continuous employment;
  • Two paid sick days after 24 months continuous employment; or
  • Three paid sick days after 35 months continuous employment.

If unused, these sick days cannot be carried over to the next calendar year, and employers can require medical certificates from employees who take three consecutive days of sick leave.

Federal

Effective as of February 1, 2024, federally regulated employers must provide longer notice periods when terminating employees under Canada Labour Code amendments.

The notice periods are as follows:

  • Three months continuous employment = 2 weeks notice
  • Three years continuous employment = 3 weeks notice
  • Four years continuous employment = 4 weeks notice
  • Five years continuous employment = 5 weeks notice
  • Six years continuous employment = 6 weeks notice
  • Seven years continuous employment =7 weeks notice
  • Eight+ years continuous employment = 8 weeks notice

The notice periods do not apply if the termination is for cause.

Employers must provide a written statement of benefits upon dismissal that sets out vacation benefits, wages, severance, and any other benefits and pay earned through their employment.

The content provided in this blog is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.

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