On October 29, 2018, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018. In addition to introducing long-anticipated pay equity legislation, the proposed legislation would make significant changes to the labour standards in Part III of the Canada Labour Code. Some of the proposed changes are unsurprising given the Government's past statements. Other changes are unexpected and, if enacted, would have a major impact on both non-union and unionized employers.
The highlights of the proposed legislation are:
• If passed, Bill C-86 will enact a new Pay Equity Act that establishes a "proactive" pay equity framework under which employers will need to take up-front steps to eliminate pay differences between men and women.
• The pay equity framework will apply to public and private sector employers that have 10 or more employees.
• Employers will be required to establish and maintain a pay equity plan that identifies and corrects differences in compensation between jobs of equal value.
• A Pay Equity Commissioner will facilitate the resolution of disputes, conduct compliance audits, investigate disputes, objections, and complaints, and have the power to make orders and impose administrative monetary penalties for violations of the legislation.
• Pay Equity between Employment Statuses - Employers will be prohibited from paying employees different rates of pay because of their "employment status" (i.e. full-time vs. part-time, casual, temporary, etc.) subject to narrow exceptions.
• New Leaves - Employees will be entitled to new leaves, including:
• Five days of personal leave, including three paid days;
• Five days of paid leave for victims of family violence; and,
• The current minimum length of service requirements for leaves and holiday pay will be eliminated.
• Notice of Termination - Employees will be entitled to significantly greater notice of termination or pay in lieu. Specifically:
• Individual employees will be entitled to two weeks' notice if the employee has completed at least three months and less than three years of continuous employment. After at least three years of continuous employment, the entitlement is one week's notice or pay in lieu for each year of continuous employment up to a maximum of eight (8) weeks' notice.
• Employees who are terminated in a "group termination" would be entitled to a minimum of eight (8) weeks' notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof.
• Vacation - Employees will be entitled to paid vacation as follows:
• Two weeks' vacation after one year of employment;
• Three weeks' vacation after five years of employment;
• Four weeks' vacation after 10 years of employment
• Enforcement - The legislation would establish a Head of Compliance and Enforcement who will exercise most of the powers and perform most of the functions and duties that are related to Part II (Occupation Health and Safety), Part III (Labour Standards), and the still not-in-force Part IV, which relates to compliance with the Code.
Bill C-86 includes a variety of other changes to labour standards that would also have a meaningful impact on employers, such as in the area of scheduling and the treatment of independent contractors. These changes appear to be heavily inspired by Ontario's Bill 148, which was passed in 2017 but is now being largely repealed by the new Ontario government.
We will continue to update you on Bill C-86 as it works its way through the legislative process.