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There are two changes for federally regulated employers that you should know about: the Pay Equity Act and bereavement leave under the Canada Labour Code.

Federal Pay Equity Act

The federal Pay Equity Act comes into force August 31, 2021. That means federally-regulated employers with 10 or more employees must have a pay equity policy in place within 3 years.

The Pay Equity Act was passed in 2018. Its goal is to ensure men and women receive equal pay for work of equal value.

EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS

The Act will require employers to do a wide variety of things, including:

  • Establish a pay equity plan within 3 years; the plan must identify the number of employees, job classes, gender predominance within the classes, compensation, set out information on dispute resolutions, compare compensation between female- and male-dominated classes of similar value, etc.
  • Review and update pay equity plans at least once every 5 years
  • Post notices on pay equity obligations
  • Report on whether milestones are achieved
  • Establish a pay equity committee (if 100+ employees)
  • Receive employee comments on the plan before finalizing it
  • Submit annual statements to Pay Equity Commissioner

ENFORCEMENT & ORDERS

As part of the Act’s enforcement, an appointed Federal Pay Equity Commissioner will work within the Canadian Human Rights Commission as part of the Pay Equity Unit. The Pay Equity Commissioner will

  • Help people understand their rights and obligations
  • Conduct audits
  • Issuing binding orders to settle disputes
  • Receive complaints
  • Facilitate dispute resolution
  • Publish research on pay equity issues

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Employment and Social Development Canada

Service Canada

Bereavement Leave under the Canada Labour Code

Bill C-220, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (bereavement leave) (“Act”)received Royal Assent on June 29, 2021 and comes into effect September 29, 2021.

Under the Canada Labour Code (“Code”), employees are entitled to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave if an immediate family member dies. If the employee has worked for 3 months, the first 3 days of leave are paid.

The Act extends the length of leave to 10 days. The number of paid days remains at 3.

For the purposes of the current bereavement leave (s.210(1) of the Code), “immediate family” means:

  • Spouse or common law partner
  • Mother, father and spouse or common law partner of mother or father
  • Children
  • Children of the spouse or common law partner
  • Grandchildren
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Grandparents
  • Mother-in-law, father-in-law, and their spouses or common law partners
  • Relative who permanently resides with employee

The bill also expands bereavement leave for employees who are on compassionate care leave or critical illness leave if the family member being cared for dies.

For compassionate care leave (206.3(1)) and critical illness leave (206.4(1)), family member is defined the same way as under the Employment Insurance Act regulations. It is broader than “immediate family member” and includes aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, current or former foster children, current or former wards, guardians, and a person “whom the individual considers to be like a close relative.”

Leave must be taken in a period beginning on the day of death and ending within six weeks of the latest date of any funeral, burial or memorial service.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Library of Parliament, Legislative Summary of Bill C-220: An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (bereavement leave), Mayra Perez-Leclerc, Publication No. 43-2-C220-E (Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 16 March 2021)

Noteworthy is provided 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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