Skip to main content

Changes to Canada Labour Code Impose New Obligations for Employers

Reading Time 4 minute read


Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

On July 9, 2023, new amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”), the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (the “Standards Regulation”), and the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations (the “AMP Regulation”) came into force.[1] The amendments to the Code were originally passed in federal budget legislation in 2018.

The amendments will require employers to (a) reimburse reasonable work-related expenses,[2] (b) provide employees with materials regarding employer and employee rights, (c) post these materials in readily accessible places,[3] and (d) provide employees with written statements containing information regarding their employment.[4] The amendments also establish administrative monetary penalties for failures to comply with these new obligations.[5]

Reimbursement of Reasonable Work-Related Expenses

The Code now requires employers to reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses, unless such expenses are deemed ineligible for reimbursement under the Standards Regulation, the terms of a collective agreement, or a written agreement between the employer and employee. The Standards Regulation does not provide categories of expenses to be reimbursed, but rather provide a list of factors to consider in determining whether an expense is “work-related” or “reasonable.” The Government of Canada also published guidance to assist employers in determining which expenses are “work-related” and “reasonable.”[6]

Employers must reimburse employees for eligible work-related expenses within 30 days of the employee submitting the claim, unless another time frame is established by a collective agreement or by a written agreement between the employee and the employer.

Importantly, this obligation only applies to eligible work-related expenses incurred on or after July 9, 2023.

Provision of Ministry Materials

The Code now requires employers to provide employees with materials made available by the Ministry of Labour (the “Ministry”).

First, employers must provide all current employees with materials made available by the Ministry containing information regarding employer and employee rights under Part III of the Code within 90 days after the later of July 9, 2023 or the day on which materials are first made available by the Ministry. Thereafter, employers must provide this information within 30 days of an employee’s first day of work. When the Ministry makes updated materials available, employers must provide updated materials to all employees within 30 days of them being made available.

Second, employers must post these materials in readily accessible places where they will likely be seen by employees.

Third, employers must provide a terminated employee, no later than their last day of employment, with the materials made available by the Ministry relating to termination of employment.

Employment Statements

The Code also now requires employers to provide employees with written statements regarding certain terms and conditions related to their employment.

Employers must provide a written statement to an employee containing information relating to their employment, within the first 30 days of employment. The Standards Regulation outlines the mandatory contents of the statement, which include, among other things, the employee’s job title and rate of wages. Employers must provide an updated statement within 30 days of any change to the information in an original (or prior) statement.

Employers have up to October 7, 2023 to provide an employment statement to employees who were employed as of July 9, 2023.

Failure to Comply

New amendments to the AMP Regulation establish administrative monetary penalties for a failure to comply with these new requirements. As with previous administrative monetary penalties, the baseline amount of the penalty is based on the type of violation, the size of the employer, and the employer’s compliance history.

What’s Next?

These new requirements came into effect, in all federally regulated workplaces across Canada, on July 9, 2023.

To streamline the reimbursement of reasonable work-related expenses, federally regulated employers should consider establishing categories of work-related expenses that will be reimbursed, based on the factors outlined in the Regulations and the guidance issued by the Ministry, and establish written agreements regarding expenses that will not be reimbursed. Further, employers should put processes in place to ensure: (i) that the materials published by the Ministry regarding employee rights and entitlements are distributed to employees at the point of hire, upon termination, and whenever updated materials are made available by the Ministry; (ii) that these same materials remain posted in places that are readily accessible by employees; and (iii) that all new and existing employees are provided with employment statements (or updated employment statements, as the case may be), all within the timelines set out above. 

[1] Budget Implementation Act, 2018 No. 2, SC 2018, c 27, ss 534(8), 534(10); Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code, SOR/2023-79.

[2] Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2, ss 238.1, 238.2 (“Code”); Canada Labour Standards Regulations, CRC, c 986, ss 23.1 (“Standards Regulation”)

[3] Code, supra s 253.1.

[4] Code, supra s 253.2; Standards Regulation, supra, s 3.1

[5] Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations, SOR/2020-260, Schedule 2.

[6] See reimbursement of work-related expenses–IPG-120, July 9, 2023.

Contact the Authors

If you have questions regarding these proposed changes or how the legislation will affect your
workplace, please contact one of the authors or your usual Fasken lawyer.

Contact the Authors


    Sign up for updates from this team

    Receive email updates from our team