Category Archives: Legislative Updates

Yet another province increases its minimum wage – this time Alberta

2014 is shaping up to be the year of the minimum wage increase across Canada. As we reported back in May 2014, the general minimum wage in Ontario was raised from $10.25 per hour to $11.00 per hour as of June 1, 2014. Earlier this week on September 1, 2014, Alberta also raised its general minimum wage from $9.95 per hour to $10.20 per hour, which means that every jurisdiction in Canada has now passed the $10.00 general minimum wage barrier.

In the meantime, 7 other provinces and territories have either increased, or will shortly be increasing, their general minimum wage rate. A list of the new rates and the effective dates is set out below:

         Jurisdiction   Old rate         New rate       Effective date

  • Nova Scotia:      $10.30                $10.40                April 1 2014
  • Yukon                   $10.54                $10.72                April 1 2014
  • Quebec                 $10.15                 $10.35                May 1 2014
  • Ontario                 $10.25                $11.00                June 1 2014
  • Alberta                 $9.95                   $10.20                September 1 2014
  • Manitoba             $10.45                $10.70                October 1 2014
  • NFLD                     $10.00               $10.25                 October 1 2014
  • PEI                         $10.20                $10.35                 October 1 2014
  • Saskatchewan    $10.00               $10.20                 October 1 2014

The 3 provinces and territories that have not indicated an intention to change their general minimum wage rate are the following:

  • BC                            $10.25                                                May 1, 2012
  • NWT                      $10.00                                                April 1, 2011
  • Nunavut                $11.00                                                January 1, 2011

It appears that the next trend in the area of minimum wage rates is the indexing of those rate to changes in the Consumer Price Index. Currently, Nova Scotia and Yukon both adjust their general minimum wage rate annually on April 1 to match the increase (if any) in the Consumer Price Index. Ontario is currently considering legislation (which has not yet passed) that would implement a similar process in Ontario with indexing to begin on October 1, 2015.

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Filed under Employment, Employment Standards, Employment Standards Act, Legislative Updates

Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation

Beginning July 1, 2014, Ontario employers must ensure their workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

The following are the general requirements of the Regulation:

For Employers:
• ensure workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness program
• ensure supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness program within one week of working as a supervisor
• maintain records of the training completed by workers and supervisors
• provide workers and supervisors with written proof of completion of the training, if requested

Training for workers must include instruction on:
• the duties and rights of workers, supervisors and employers under the OHSA
• common workplace hazards and occupational illnesses
• the role of joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) and health and safety representatives under OHSA
• the roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and Health and Safety Associations; and
• the requirements set out in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulation

Training for supervisors must include instruction on:
• the duties and rights of workers, supervisors and employers under the OHSA
• how to identify, assess and manage workplace hazards, the roles of JHSCs and health and safety representatives under OHSA
• the roles of the Ministry, WSIB and Health and Safety Associations
• sources of information on occupational health and safety

Workers and supervisors who have previously completed a training program will not have to take the training again if they can provide proof that the training was completed as required by the Regulation.

The Ministry of Labour has produced A Guide to OHSA Requirements for Basic Awareness Training which can be accessed at http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/training_guide/

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Filed under Employment, Legislative Updates, Occupational Health & Safety

Canada Labour Code amendments come into force on April 1, 2014

In a previous post, we reported on anticipated amendments to the “minimum employment standards” provisions in Part III of the Canada Labour Code. The Federal Government recently announced that those amendment will come into force on April 1, 2014. The new provisions of the Code will apply to federally regulated employers and their employees.

The amendments are primarily administrative in nature, and are intended to bring the Code in line with the legislation in other jurisdictions.

Some of the more significant changes are with respect to the following:

  • Limitation periods: Generally speaking, employees will have six months to bring a complaint regarding unpaid wages or other amounts. In most cases, a payment order made by an inspector will be limited to the 12-month period prior to the date of the complaint or termination. The time limit for payment orders relating to vacation pay will be 24 months.
  • Statutory complaint mechanism: A new procedure will be implemented to allow employees to file written complaints to the Labour Program alleging a contravention by their employer of the standards in the Code.
  • Review mechanism: Employers or employees will have access to a new level of review when an inspector makes a payment order or rejects a complaint. The review, which must be applied for within 15 days, will be heard by a referee appointed by the minister. The referee will have the power to confirm, rescind or vary the decision of the inspector.
  • Unpaid vacation pay: Employers will be required to pay unpaid vacation pay to an employee within 30 days of termination. Currently the Code does not set a specific deadline for paying unpaid vacation pay.

The new provisions are intended to benefit both employers and employees, in that they provide for a more efficient and effective method of dealing with complaints that will now be limited to a strictly-defined time period.

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Filed under Employment, Employment Standards, Legislative Updates