I was going to briefly outline clauses 441 to 534, modernizing labour standards. Just briefly, federal labour standards were established in the 1960s when most jobs provided decent wages and benefits. They were full-time, generally permanent. Those labour standards have really remained relatively unchanged until recently.
In recent years, significant economic and technological changes have affected the world of work and altered the way Canadians work. We look at gig work, on-demand work, and so on. While many of these changes are positive, they also present challenges for Canadians. They struggle to support their families in part-time, temporary and low-wage jobs, and they may work several jobs to make ends meet, face unpredictable hours, and lack benefits and access to certain labour standards.
To ensure that labour standards are robust and modern in the new world of work, and that they both protect employees and support productive workplaces, amendments are being proposed to update federal labour standards to strengthen the rights and protections of employees in the federally regulated private sector, and provide a solid foundation to equip employers and employees to succeed in the changing world of work.
Right now, a person has to be continuously employed by a single employer for a period of time in order to qualify for many of the protections and labour rights set out in part III of the Code. It can be difficult for employees who change jobs often to meet those requirements.
To improve employees' eligibility for labour standards, amendments are being proposed to eliminate the minimum length of service requirements for general holiday pay, sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, leave related to critical illness and leave related to death or disappearance of a child.
The length of service required to be eligible for three weeks of vacation with pay would also be reduced from six weeks to five weeks.
Many employees have difficulty achieving work-life balance due to lack of time or scheduling conflicts. This is especially true for non-unionized employees and employees with precarious jobs, who do not enjoy the same stability and working conditions as permanent full-time employees.
To further improve work-life balance, the Canada Labour Code would be modified by adding an unpaid break of 30 minutes for every five hours of work, a minimum eight-hour rest period between shifts and unpaid breaks for nursing or medical reasons.
Amendments would require employers to provide employees at least 96 hours' advance notice of their schedules; add four weeks of vacation with pay after 10 years or more of service with the same employer; introduce a new five-day personal leave, of which three days are paid, and five days of paid leave for victims of family violence out of 10 days in total; improve access to medical leave by allowing it to be taken for medical appointments, clarifying that it covers organ or tissue donation, and only allowing employers to request a certificate for a leave of three or more consecutive days; and introduce a new and unpaid leave for court or jury duty.
Amendments are also being proposed to enhance the leave of absence for members of the reserve force in order to ensure that reservists are properly trained to deploy on missions while balancing fairness for employers. Specifically, the proposed amendments would reduce the length of service requirement to be eligible for the leave from six to three months, allow the leave to be used to attend Canadian Armed Forces military skills training, and limit the maximum amount of leave that an employee may take to 24 months in any 60-month period, subject to exceptions such as declared national emergencies.
Workers in atypical jobs face different challenges from those faced by employees with normal jobs, and those challenges can vary from worker to worker. For instance, temporary and part-time employees may not be paid at the same rate as their full-time colleagues and may have trouble qualifying for certain rights and protections, which makes their situation more precarious.
To ensure that employees in precarious work are paid and treated fairly and have access to labour standards, amendments are being proposed to require that casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees are paid equally to full-time employees when performing substantially the same job for the same employer. This requirement would not apply if the differences in rates of pay are based on objective factors such as seniority or merit.
Amendments would protect temporary help agency employees from unfair practices such as being charged a fee for being assigned work; require employers to provide employees with information about labour standards requirements and their conditions of employment; entitle all employees to be informed of employment or promotion opportunities; and prohibit employers from treating an employee as if they were not their employee in order to avoid their obligations or to deprive the employee of their rights.
Amendments would treat employees' length of service as continuous in cases of contract retendering within the federal private sector, or when their employment is transferred from a provincially regulated employer to a federally regulated employer. They would allow an employee to seek reimbursement of work-related expenses and raise the minimum age for work in hazardous occupations from 17 to 18 years of age.
Amendments are also proposed so that employees who are terminated receive advance notice and sufficient compensation to protect their financial security.
Specifically, in situations where 50 or more employees are being terminated, employers would now be allowed to provide pay in lieu of the required 16-week group notice or a combination of notice and pay in lieu. Employers would also be required to give employees eight weeks' individual notice of termination or pay in lieu. The ability for employers to request waivers from the group termination requirements would be eliminated.
In situations where less than 50 employees are being terminated, the current two-week individual notice termination requirement would be replaced with a graduated notice of termination that would range from two weeks' notice, pay in lieu of notice or a combination of notice and pay in lieu for employees with between three months and less than three years of continuous employment, to a maximum of eight weeks after eight years of continuous employment. Employers would also be required to inform terminated employees about their termination rights.
Finally, a number of amendments to the code's administration provisions are also being proposed to resolve technical issues, eliminate duplication of recourse mechanisms, clarify existing provisions and ensure the efficient treatment of complaints.
Some examples of the proposed changes include broadening the scope of health care practitioners—nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, midwives—who can issue medical certificates. This is to reflect changes in the way health care services are delivered and improve access to the leaves as well as to help reduce pressure on the health care system.
Amendments would also transfer responsibilities for adjudicating genetic testing complaints from adjudicators to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, as will also be the case with respect to the adjudication of wage recovery and unjust dismissal complaints.
I will now turn to Charles Philippe Rochon to outline subdivision B, head of compliance and enforcement.