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British Columbia Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Posted on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Category Archives: Legislative Changes

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Ontario to see major changes to workplace laws in 2018

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. which now awaits Royal Assent. The passage of Bill 148 means that Ontario will see major changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 in the new year. These changes include moving to a $14 minimum wage (followed by a subsequent increase to $15 on January 1, 2019), increased vacation entitlements, increased entitlement to parental leave, paid emergency leave, and equal pay for part-time, contract and temporary employees.

Our colleagues in Toronto recently addressed … Continue Reading

Federal Government Introduces New Amendments to the Canada Labour Code to Address Workplace Violence and Harassment

Posted in Employer Obligations, Investigations, Legislative Changes

The Federal Government recently introduced legislation providing for significant changes in how federally-regulated workplaces address workplace violence and harassment. For more information about Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1., and the duties this proposed legislation may impose upon employers if it becomes law, please read the blog post prepared by our colleagues in Toronto (available HERE).… Continue Reading

Update on Ontario’s Employment and Labour Law Reform Bill

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements

The Ontario Government is moving forward with its plan to implement wide-sweeping changes to the province’s employment and labour laws. The proposed legislation, Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, will enter its Second Reading in the Ontario legislature soon. Our colleagues in Toronto recently addressed the status of Bill 148 in their blog post “Ontario’s Employment and Labour Law Reform Bill Continues to Undergo Changes.”

If you have any questions about Bill 148 and how it will impact your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact us, Tim Lawson, Matthew Demeo or any lawyer … Continue Reading

BC’s minimum wage will increase effective September 15, 2017

Posted in Employer Obligations, Employment Standards, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements, Wage and Hours

On August 15, 2017, the provincial government announced that British Columbia’s minimum wage will increase from $10.85 to $11.35 per hour effective September 15, 2017. This is the Ministry of Labour’s first step in a long-term plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Wage increases will also take effect for employees in the following categories:

  • live-in home support worker;
  • live-in camp leader;
  • resident caretaker;
  • farm workers; and
  • liquor servers.

Please contact us directly if you would like more information about any increase in wages affecting your workforce and the related amendments to the Employment Standards Regulation (B.C. … Continue Reading

British Columbia announces re-establishment of the Human Rights Commission

Posted in Human Rights, Legislative Changes

On August 4, 2017, Premier John Horgan announced the Government’s intent to re-establish a human rights commission. The British Columbia Human Rights Commission was dismantled about 15 years ago. Currently British Columbia has a direct access model allowing complaints to be brought directly to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.  In jurisdictions with commissions (in other provinces and federally) complaints must first proceed through an investigation process with a human rights commission.

According to the News Release issued by the Office of the Premier, the intent of the new human rights commission will be to act proactively to address systemic … Continue Reading

The Canadian Human Rights Act gets an update with the addition of “gender identity or expression”

Posted in Discrimination, Employer Obligations, Human Rights, Legislative Changes

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, received Royal Assent. As a result, “gender identity” and “gender expression” are now prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (the “Act”). In particular, section 3(1) of the Act now reads:

Prohibited grounds of discrimination

3 (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for an Continue Reading

Federal government restores former certification and decertification processes for unionization in federal workplaces

Posted in Labour Relations, Legislative Changes, Unions

On June 22, 2017, Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act, came into effect. This legislation changes certification and decertification rules for federally regulated workplaces. For more information, please visit the blog post “Federal Government Restores Former Certification and Decertification Processes for Unionization in Federal Workplaces” prepared by our colleagues in Toronto.… Continue Reading

Government of Alberta proposes changes to labour and employment standards codes

Posted in Employer Obligations, Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Legislative Changes

Last week, the Government of Alberta tendered and passed first reading of Bill 17: Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act . Bill 17 proposes a number of amendments to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code. If passed, these amendments will have a significant impact on employers’ policies, practices and business as a whole.

For more information on the proposed changes, please visit the blog post “Bill 17 – Proposed Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code” prepared by our colleagues in Calgary.… Continue Reading

These heels weren’t made for workin’… BC bans mandatory high heeled shoes in workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employer Obligations, Human Rights, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements, Occupational Health and Safety, WorkSafeBC

On April 7, 2017, the BC Government issued a press release on having fulfilled its promise to ban mandatory high heels from BC workplaces. The change was made by amending section 8.22 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (“OHS Regulation”), and is explained by WorkSafeBC’s recently adopted OHS Guideline G8.22Footwear regarding section 8.22 of the OHS Regulation.

The Guideline provides that “footwear must both allow the workers to perform their work safely and provide the protection required for the particular environment.” Employers must conduct an assessment of the risks present in their particular workplace and duties of the employee … Continue Reading

BC will see big changes to small claims on June 1, 2017

Posted in Legislative Changes, Litigation

On March 20, 2017, the Province of British Columbia announced significant changes to the jurisdiction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) and Provincial Court to address small claims court matters.

Since June 2016, British Columbians have turned to the CRT to resolve strata property disputes online. Effective June 1, 2017, it will be mandatory for most disputes up to $5,000 to use the CRT. This change will capture almost all employment-related disputes up to $5,000, which would otherwise have proceeded in small claims court. The CRT’s online process is intended to be efficient, accessible, and inexpensive, and can be accessed Continue Reading

New WorkSafeBC regulations for joint occupational health and safety committees effective April 3, 2017

Posted in Employer Obligations, Legislative Changes, Occupational Health and Safety, WorkSafeBC

In British Columbia, a workplace with 20 or more workers must have a joint occupational health and safety committee (“Committee”), and a workplace with 10-19 workers must have a worker health and safety representative. Effective April 3, 2017, amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation will require the following:

  1. Employers must ensure that a written evaluation is conducted annually to measure the effectiveness of the Committee. Section 3.26(b) of the Regulation sets out who can conduct the evaluation, and section 3.26(3) of the Regulation sets out what information must be covered by the evaluation. WorkSafeBC reports that it 
Continue Reading

BC revamps Provincial Nominee Program with enactment of Provincial Immigration Programs Act and Regulation

Posted in Human Capital, Immigration, Legislative Changes

The Provincial Immigration Programs Act, S.B.C. 2015, c. 37 (“PIPA“) and the Provincial Immigration Programs Regulation (“Regulation“) came into effect on February 1, 2017.

PIPA strengthens the administration of the Province’s immigration programs and designates decision-making authority for the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP“) to the director, provincial immigration programs.

The Regulation governs the delivery of the PNP, which is British Columbia’s only direct economic immigration tool. Specifically, the Regulation:

  1. grants authority to collect PNP fees,
  2. sets out the amount of PNP fees,
  3. allows for inspections to be conducted to monitor compliance
Continue Reading

Canada is one step closer to legalizing cannabis and workplace safety is top of mind

Posted in Legislative Changes, Occupational Health and Safety

On November 30, 2016, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation presented its Final Report to the federal government. The Report sets out recommendations to the federal government “on the design of a new system to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.” This brings the federal government one step closer to legalizing cannabis in Canada.

The full report, titled A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada: The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, is now available for download.  Noteworthy to employers are the Task Force’s … Continue Reading

Gender expression and gender identity now express grounds of discrimination under Code

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights, Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements

Following our previous post on the British Columbia government’s bill to amend the Human Rights Code [Code] earlier this year, the bill recently received royal assent and “gender identity and gender expression” are now expressly included in the Code  as protected grounds.

Though the meaning and application of these new protected grounds will need to be fleshed out by Tribunal and court decisions, the Tribunal’s website now provides the following descriptions:

Gender Expression: Gender expression is how a person presents their gender. This can include behaviour and appearance, including dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. This … Continue Reading

Have your say – potential changes to Workers’ Compensation Act regulations

Posted in Legislative Changes, Legislative Requirements, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC recently announced public consultation and hearings into proposed changes to regulations under the Workers’ Compensation Act, including environmental tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapour and joint health and safety committees. Details of the proposed changes, together with explanatory notes, can be found at the foregoing link.

WorkSafeBC is accepting public feedback until October 7, 2016, which can be provided online, by email, fax or by mail (details in the link provided).

A number of public hearings will also be held throughout British Columbia, commencing September 21, 2016.

Consider taking this opportunity to review the potential impacts of the proposed changes … Continue Reading

B.C. changes course to join other jurisdictions in expressly recognizing gender identity and expression under human rights legislation

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights, Legislative Changes

British Columbia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton, announced on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, that the government will introduce a bill next week to amend British Columbia’s Human Rights Code [Code] to include “gender identity and gender expression” as protected grounds. This announcement reflects a change in the government’s policy, which for years maintained that it was not necessary to amend the Code because the language was already sufficient to protect the rights of transgendered people.

LGBTQ2 advocates had argued previously for the changes for a number of reasons, including that, practically speaking, without express protection, Continue Reading

Have your say: federal employers may soon have to accommodate “millennials”

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employer Obligations, Employment Standards, Human Rights, Legislative Changes

Employment and Social Development Canada recently released a Discussion Paper on Flexible Work Arrangements, signaling potential changes to the Canada Labour Code (“Code”). The Discussion Paper follows on the federal government’s November 2015 mandate to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to amend the Code in order to allow workers in federally regulated sectors to formally request flexible work arrangements from their employers. Employers would then be obliged to respond to such requests, and could only deny requests on “reasonable business grounds”. Changes to the Code would affect some 880,000 employees working for over 11,450 employers in federally Continue Reading

An expanded Canada Pension Plan

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employer Obligations, Legislative Changes, Pensions

Much has been said about the recent agreement in principle between 8 of the 10 provincial finance ministers and the federal finance minister to expand the Canada Pension Plan. Our colleagues in Ontario have posted their thoughts on the matter, which includes a useful summary on the agreement, links to further details, some implications for employers – both generally and specifically in Ontario – and steps that employers should take to anticipate the expected changes.… Continue Reading

BC government enables smaller employers to give employees pension plans.

Posted in Benefits, Compensation, Pensions, Legislative Changes, Pensions

Pension plans can be a very helpful retention mechanism for good employees (and, it must be noted, bad ones too), and many larger employers offer them to their employees as part of their overall compensation package. However, the cost and complexity of pension plans have also meant that they may not be considered by most smaller employers. Recent legislative enactments have attempted to address this.

In 2012, the federal government enacted the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, creating Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) at the federal level, in an effort to make large-scale defined contributions pension plans available to Continue Reading

New Human Rights and Privacy Protections For ‘Genetic Test Results’ Introduced

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights, Legislative Changes, Privacy

Federally-regulated employers may soon be seeing changes to privacy and human rights laws in relation to genetic information. On June 9, 2015, the federal Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-68, otherwise known as the Protection Against Genetic Discrimination Act. The bill is aimed at better protecting persons’ genetic information in Canada. The latest version of the bill can be found here.

Bill C-68 will clarify the law relating to the use, collection, and disclosure of genetic information by amending three pieces of federal legislation: the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act (PIPEDA) Continue Reading

New Investigation Requirements, On-The-Spot Financial Penalties and Work-Stop Orders In Wake Of Babine and Lakeland Sawmill Disasters

Posted in Investigations, Legislative Changes, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

Before the Babine and Lakeland sawmill disasters in 2012, employers were already under an obligation to investigate any workplace incident involving serious injury or death, major structural failure or collapse, major release of a hazardous substance, a blasting accident that caused personal injury, a dangerous incident involving explosive, a diving accident, any accident or other incident that resulted in injury to a worker requiring medical treatment, and any near misses.

Now, as a result of amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), following Royal Assent to Bill C-9 on May 14, 2015, the manner in which employers carry … Continue Reading

Temporary Foreign Workers: New Fees and Regulatory Changes

Posted in Human Capital, Immigration, Legislative Changes, Temporary Foreign Worker Program

We previously posted on the public outcry over and the federal government’s commitment to revising the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) here and here .

New fees and regulatory changes for the TFWP are set to take effect on February 21, 2015. Our colleagues in Montréal have published a helpful article to help employers understand how these new fees and regulatory changes may impact their engagement with the TFWP. The full text of the article can be read here.

In light of the scrutiny the TFWP has been experiencing of late, this may not be the last set of changes … Continue Reading

SCC Orders Parliament to Reconsider RCMP Labour Relations

Posted in Labour Relations, Legislative Changes

Until last Friday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was Canada’s only police force that was legislatively prohibited from unionizing. On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 1, that the exclusion of RCMP members from the definition of “employee” under the Public Service Labour Relations Act (Canada) [PSLRA] and the Staff Relations Representative Program (“SRRP”) infringed on RCMP members’ freedom of association under s.2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This decision overrules the Court’s previous decision in Delisle v. Canada Continue Reading

Bill To Amend Definition Of ‘Sex’ Under BC Human Rights Code Passes First Reading

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights, Legislative Changes

Private member’s Bill M 211-2014, titled Gender Identity and Expression Human Rights Recognition Act, passed first reading in the BC Legislature on November 20, 2014. If eventually given royal assent, the bill will amend the definition of ‘sex’ under the Human Rights Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

The full text of the bill can be read here. We will be sure to keep you updated as this bill makes its way through the Legislature and of its impact on human rights law in the province.… Continue Reading