IAM Canada News

Canada Labour Code Changes in Effect

By: Ivana Saula, Research Director, Canada

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu’s office announced yesterday that amendments to the Canada Labour Code Part III will come into effect this Sunday, Sept.1, 2019. The IAMAW is an active stakeholder in the Labour Program’s consultation process having provided submissions stating our position on proposed changes.

The government introduced new types of leaves, such as domestic violence leave, family responsibility and modifications to parental leave. The IAMAW hoped for significant improvements to the Code, and a truly modernized federal labour code. Unfortunately, this was a missed opportunity for the Liberal government to improve working conditions for those in the federal sector.

A number of employers requested exemptions from certain provisions, which has left a lot of unanswered questions. It appears employers can choose which new provisions to follow and which to ignore. This is deeply concerning and we await further information on this issue.  Our union is monitoring the issue and is involved in further discussions. As information becomes available to us, we will provide updates.

While contract flipping is not included in Part III of the Code, we raised this issue in our first submission to stress the importance of addressing this problem.

It is clear to us that the consultations were a political ploy for the Liberal government in time for the election, given the speed at which consultations happened.

For a list of changes, please see the attached chart.




Eligibility Duration Additional Information
Family Responsibility 3 months continuous service 3 days For health, care or education of family members
Traditional Indigenous Practices 3 months continuous service 5 days Practices include fishing, hunting and harvesting and those prescribed in regulations
Victims of Family Violence Must be a victim or parent of a victim 10 days( of which 5 days are paid) To seek medical attention, counselling, legal services; to relocate
Bereavement Leave 3 months continuous leave 5 days( of 3 days are paid) Deal with responsibilities related to the death of an immediate family member. Must be taken in one or two periods, and can’t be less than one full day.
Maternal Leave May take unpaid maternity leave 13 weeks prior the child’s birth.
Parental Leave Up to 63 weeks unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.


Employee Obligations Employer Obligations
Shift Scheduling No obligation 24 hours’ notice of a shift change, when adding a shift, or changing a shift.
Flexible Work Arrangements -6 months continuous employment

– make request in writing


Must make a decision 30 days after the worker’s request has been made
Overtime or time off For every 1 hour of worked, the employer must provide 1.5 hours off with pay. Banked overtime hours must be taken within a 3 month period. Must ensure that for every 1 hour of overtime worked, the worker is compensated for 1.5 hours or that banked hours are taken within a 3 month period.
Right to refuse overtime A worker may refuse overtime if time worked would interfere with family responsibilities.[1]

The right is narrow and restrictive, and applies to rare circumstances.

An employer may request an employee work overtime, if the need is unforeseen and otherwise couldn’t have been planned for.
Interruption of vacation Allowed to interrupt their vacation to take a leave of absence, sick leave or absence due to a work-related injury or illness. Must adhere to the Code
Vacation Allowed to take vacation in more than one period. Must adhere to the Code


[1] Family responsibility means captures the following, looking after the health or care of a family member(s) or responsibilities relating to the education of minor family members.



This article was originally posted on the IAM Canada website. View the original post here: Canada Labour Code Changes in Effect