Focus readers may recall the federal government’s amendment of the Canada Labour Code with respect to hours of work. The amendments addressed issues such as breaks, rest periods in between shifts or work periods, and the requisite notice to an employee regarding their work schedule or a shift change.
As discussed in a previous Focus Alert, the amendments came into force on September 1, 2019. However, there were no regulations at the time providing for exemptions from or modifications to these provisions. In consideration of the particular needs of certain classes of employees in certain operations, interim measures were released by way of Interpretations, Guidelines and Policies or “IPGs” to provide the Labour Program with time to develop regulations, and to support employers in the transition to the new provisions.
Since then, the government has carried out consultations with respect to hours of work provisions. The Exemptions from and Modifications to Hours of Work Provisions Regulations were developed and cover the road transportation, postal and courier, marine, and grain sectors. They come into force on February 1, 2022.
Proposed Hours of Work Regulations for Certain Sectors
Further amendments to the Exemptions from and Modifications to Hours of Work Provisions Regulations are required to address the needs of the air and rail transportation, banking, and telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.
As a result, on December 25, 2021, the government published proposed Regulations amending the Exemptions from and Modifications to Hours of Work Provisions Regulations and the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations are based on feedback about the hours of work provisions that were provided to the Labour Program during stakeholder consultations for those sectors that took place in 2019 and 2020.
Stakeholders have until February 23, 2022 to provide feedback. They are able to do so using the comment feature built into the document, or by using the e-mail address in accordance with the instructions in the notice.
Until regulations for these sectors are in force, IPG 101 will apply to the covered sectors.
For each of the covered sectors, the Proposed Regulations outline specific modifications or exemptions to the types of hours of work provisions outlined below, based on particular classes of employees to whom those changes apply:
- 96 hours’ notice of work schedule;
- 24 hours’ notice of shift change;
- 8-hour rest period between shifts or work periods; and
- 30-minute break.
The Proposed Regulations also outline amendments to the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations to ensure that they reflect the amended hours of work requirements.
The Proposed Regulations indicate that they would have a delayed coming into force of five (5) months after final publication in the Canada Gazette for the rail transportation, banking, and telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. For the air transportation sector, the provisions would come into force 10 months after final publication in the Canada Gazette.
Other Regulatory Consultations
The federal Labour Program is also holding separate regulatory consultations with respect to the following issues:
- Equal treatment for full time employees and workers with less secure employment, such as part time or temporary employees;
- How Labour Program documents are shared;
- Regular rates of pay for certain employees; and
- Potential changes affecting long-term disability plans.
Employers should contact EDSC.DMT.ConsultationNTModernes-ConsultationModernLS.WD.ESDC@labour-travail.gc.ca for further information regarding these consultations. Feedback for these consultations is due by February 21, 2022 and pre-publication of these regulations is expected to start in 2022.
In Our View
It is important for the Labour Program to understand how the Proposed Regulations will affect employers in the covered sectors. As a result, impacted employers are encouraged to review the proposed hours of work regulations for the specified sectors and to provide their feedback prior to the deadline.
Interested employers are also encouraged to contact the Labour Program for more information regarding the regulatory consultations regarding the other various topics outlined above.