Canada Labour Code and Employment Equity Act: New Year, New Requirements

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A series of changes to federal employment and labour laws came into effect on January 1, 2021.  Only federally regulated businesses are affected.  Such businesses include those  in aviation, banking, radio and television broadcasting, as well as many First Nations activities.

Canada Labour Code

Administrative Monetary Penalty Regime

In December, we advised you (here) about an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) regime being introduced under the Canada Labour Code (Code) .  The AMP regime allows for penalties up to $250,000 and the public naming of employers who violate the Code.

Employers will have a year to adjust to the new regime, as monetary penalties for administrative violations (like with respect to record-keeping and reporting, for example) will not be imposed until January 1, 2022.

Workplace Harassment and Violation Prevention Regulations

We also previously advised you (here) about the new Workplace Harassment and Violation Prevention Regulations.  Employers must now be ready to receive notices of occurrence.

Some of other requirements for employers are the following:

  • a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy
  • a workplace risk assessment
  • a 7-day response time for incident reports
  • incident records and annual reports
  • responsive preventative measures

Employers must provide initial training on workplace harassment and violence by January 1, 2022 and then updated training at least every three years.  New employees must receive training within three months of their start date and at least once every three years after that.

Additional Changes

The following changes are also in force now:

  • Employers are prohibited from treating employees as if they were not employees, like, for example, by classifying them as independent contractors.  Employers now have the burden of proof in cases of a complaint.
  • Labour inspectors can issue compliance orders.

Employment Equity Act

New pay transparency reporting requirements were introduced by way of amendments to the Employment Equity Act and its regulations.  The aim is to raise awareness about wage gaps experienced by women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities to increase equality in the workplace.  Employers with 100 or more employees are subject to the measures.  They must record new wage data and include the information in their annual reporting the following year.  The first reporting must be done by June 1, 2022.

For further information, including questions about whether your business may be affected by the above changes, please contact any of the Employment and Labour lawyers of Clark Wilson LLP.