Liberals to exempt ‘select employers’ from elements of new Labour Code on September 1

Update: The original version of this article said exemptions will not be effective until after the October election. Following publication, Véronique Simard, press secretary for Labour Minister Patty Hajdu, told The Logic that some companies have already been granted temporary exemptions, effective September 1.

The federal Liberals are granting exemptions to large companies from new provisions in the Labour Code, The Logic has learned. 

Sweeping changes to the Labour Code received royal assent in December 2018 and will take effect the day before Labour Day. The policy will impact about 904,000 employees—around six per cent of Canada’s workforce—and 18,310 federally regulated employers. 

Companies in industries including banking and telecommunications, as well as agriculture and ground, air and marine transportation wrote to Ottawa in recent weeks raising concerns about the updates to the code. Submissions obtained by The Logic detail concerns about competitive pressures and requests from a number of companies for either exemptions to the law or delays in the implementation of rules on everything from having to pay workers for bereavement leave to providing 24 hours’ notice for a shift change. 

On Tuesday, Véronique Simard, press secretary for Labour Minister Patty Hajdu, told The Logic that the government would launch consultations after the election to determine which exemptions to grant. After publication of this story, Simard said that while post-election consultations are still planned, “select employers” would get exemptions starting September 1 to the following provisions: “96 hours’ written notice of work schedules; 24 hours’ written notice of shift change; 8-hour rest period between work periods or shifts; and 30-minute break within every five consecutive hours of work.” She did not say which companies would get exemptions.  

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