Government of Canada protects federally regulated workers

PR Newswire
Friday, June 21, 2024 at 5:09pm UTC

Government of Canada protects federally regulated workers

Canada NewsWire

GATINEAU, QC, June 21, 2024 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is growing the economy in a way that helps every generation get ahead. This includes fair protection for working Canadians by tackling the big issues in our workplaces and in our society that are holding workers back.

Today, Minister of Labour, Seamus O'Regan Jr., welcomed royal assent of legislative changes to support federally regulated employees when it comes to accessing the benefits and protections they're entitled to, maintaining a healthy work-life balance and having the time they need for health challenges or becoming a parent.

More specifically, these changes to the Canada Labour Code will:

  • protect gig workers' access to the rights, protections and entitlements of employees under each part of the Code by strengthening the prohibition against misclassification, including through a presumption of employee status.
  • improve work-life balance by requiring employers to issue right to disconnect policies in consultation with employees or unions;
  • support workers who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy with a new three-day paid leave; and,
  • bring in a new 16-week unpaid leave for parents welcoming children by adoption or surrogacy, ensuring they have job protection when they access a corresponding Employment Insurance benefit once it is fully implemented.

The Minister commends the many employers who provide benefits and leaves that go above and beyond the minimum standards of the Labour Code. For workers in workplaces where this is not the case, these changes represent the new minimum standards that all employers will be held to in federally regulated industries. Changes to better protect gig workers come into effect immediately; all other changes will require regulations and are expected to come into effect next year to ensure employers have enough time to prepare.


"Right to disconnect. Parental leave. Banning worker misclassification. It's all about making life better for workers. So every worker can be at their best"
– Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O'Regan Jr.

"We are listening to Canadians and making changes to better reflect family life in Canada today. All parents deserve time to welcome their children home, and all children benefit from that time. I am very pleased that parents going through adoption and surrogacy will soon have the same access as other parents to the time and support they need to welcome their new children home."
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault

Quick facts
  • There are approximately 19,150 employers in federally regulated private sector industries, including federal Crown corporations that together employ approximately 1,020,000 people (about 6% of all employees in Canada).
  • The federally regulated private sector is composed of workplaces from a broad range of industries, including interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation; pipelines; banks; and postal and courier services.
  • It's estimated that 41,000 gig workers currently operate in federally regulated industries. Examples of gig workers in federally regulated industries include some self-employed truck drivers, couriers, network technicians, freelancers, artists and cultural workers.
  • The new 15-week shareable Employment Insurance benefit for parents welcoming children by adoption or surrogacy benefit is expected to provide support for approximately 1,700 Canadian families each year.
Associated links

Backgrounder: Legislative changes to support federally regulated employees
Budget 2024
2023 Fall Economic Statement

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On June 20, 2024, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement (Bill C-59), received royal assent. It includes the following legislative changes to the Canada Labour Code:

  • Leave related to pregnancy loss
    A new three-day paid leave following a pregnancy loss. Dealing with pregnancy loss can be extremely challenging, and individuals who experience it often need time away from work to support their recovery. This new leave will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but no later than by December 2025.
  • Leave for placement of child
    A new 16‑week unpaid leave to support workers who need to carry out responsibilities related to the placement of a child(ren) into their care, whether through adoption or surrogacy. This will ensure they can access the Employment Insurance benefit for adoptive parents without fear of losing their jobs. This new leave is expected to come into force through an Order in Council. The additional week of leave considers the waiting period prior to receiving EI benefit.

On June 20, 2024, Budget Implementation Act, 2024, No. 1, (Bill C-69), received royal assent. It includes the following legislative changes to the Canada Labour Code:

  • Better protections for gig workers
    A growing share of Canada's workforce is comprised of gig workers—individuals who enter more casual work arrangements to complete specific and often one-off tasks, frequently through digital platforms. While gig work can offer many benefits, such as flexibility and more freedom at work, these kinds of work arrangements can also deprive workers of the rights, protections and entitlements they deserve.

    The new legislation to better protect gig workers in federally regulated industries improves job protections for gig workers by strengthening the current prohibition against misclassification. Misclassification is when an employee is wrongfully classified as an independent contractor and denied rights, protections and entitlements as a result. The current prohibition is being strengthened through a presumption of employee status and new provisions that will ensure gig workers in federally regulated industries can access the rights, protections and entitlements of employees under each part of the Code. All workers – including gig workers – are now considered employees unless proven otherwise when their classification is contested. Independent contractor status is the exception instead of the norm when employee status is being contested, and the burden of proof would be on the employer. The changes will not affect legitimate independent contractors.

Guidance documents regarding gig worker legislation is available online:

For any questions, please contact the Labour Program at 1-800-641-4049.

  • The right to disconnect
    Employers will be required to establish a right-to-disconnect policy that would help limit work-related communication outside of scheduled working hours. This change will ensure employer expectations are clear, employee work-life balance is better protected, and employees are compensated fairly for engaging in work-related communication outside of their scheduled hours of work.

They will also require employers to:

  • review and update the policy every three years;
  • consult with employees when developing or updating the policy;
  • keep records of the policy and consultations; and
  • post and provide the policy to employees.

Evidence shows that disconnecting from work is critical to well-being and productivity. Right-to- disconnect policies can reduce the informal expectation that employees must remain constantly connected, while maintaining the flexibility employers need to keep the economy moving.

Information, tools and resources will be made available to employers and employees before the coming into force, which will take place in 2025 to ensure employers have enough time to prepare.

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada