On November 7, 2019, Bill 124: Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, received Royal Assent. The Act imposes compensation restraints on certain public sector employees with the aim of giving employers in the broader public sector a measure of predictability as to their future payroll cost increases.

Scope

The Act imposes compensation restraint measures for non-union and unionized employees employed by (among others) universities, colleges, hospitals, crown agencies and school boards. The Act does not apply to executive-level employees who are subject to the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014.

The “Salary Cap”

The Act defines “salary rate” as “a base rate of pay, whether expressed as a single rate of pay, including a rate of pay expressed on an hourly, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, annual or some other periodic basis, or a range of rates of pay, or, if no such rate or range exists, any fixed or ascertainable amount of base pay”.

Under the Act, salary rate increases are limited to 1% per 12-month period for each position or class of positions. However the 1% cap does not apply if the increase is a result of:

  • the employee’s length of time in employment;
  • an assessment of performance; or
  • the employee’s successful completion of a program or course of professional or technical education.

The “Compensation Cap”

The Act defines “compensation” broadly as “anything paid or provided, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of an employee, and includes salary, benefits, perquisites and all forms of non-discretionary and discretionary payments”.

Under the Act, increases to compensation entitlements for each of the following groups are limited to 1%:

  • each separate bargaining unit of the employer; and
  • all non-represented (e.g. non-union) employees.

To be clear, under the “Compensation Cap”, the compensation restraint for each of the above groups is calculated in the aggregate. For example, a particular bargaining unit member may receive a 2% increase based on an assessment of performance, provided that increases to the total compensation of all bargaining unit members do not exceed 1% per year.

Time Frame for Wage Cap: the “Moderation Period”

The Act creates a three-year “moderation period” during which the compensation restraints will apply. For unionized employees, the moderation period will generally coincide with the expiry of the current collective agreement (though there are several exceptions to this general rule). For non-unionized employees, the three-year moderation period begins on a date determined by the employer, provided it begins on or before January 1, 2022.

Coming into Force

The Act will come into force upon the date of proclamation which has yet to be determined. We will report on any updates concerning the in-force date.

In City of Toronto v. CUPE, Local 79, the Ontario Divisional Court reaffirmed that employers may provide less compensation to an employee who works reduced hours due to a disability without violating the Human Rights Code (“Code”). In this case, the employer discontinued its past practice of permitting employees working part-time hours to remain in the full-time bargaining unit. The change meant that the grievor, who worked part-time hours as an accommodation for his disabilities, suffered a reduction in his benefit entitlements. The Court held that the reduction to the grievor’s benefit entitlements was not discriminatory under the Code. Continue Reading Less Benefits for Less Work is Not Discrimination – Reaffirmed by Divisional Court

On October 17, 2018, Canada legalized the production, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. Several classes of cannabis became legal including fresh and dried flowers, seeds, plants and oils for recreational purposes. At the time, the federal government set a staggered date for legalizing cannabis derived products, such as edible cannabis, to allow for public consultation. Continue Reading Eating Your Greens – Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals Become Legal

Monday, October 21, 2019 is federal election day.  Under the Canada Elections Act, employees who are eligible to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off to vote without a reduction in pay. The three consecutive hours must fall within the open hours of local polling stations, which are as follows: Continue Reading Time Off to Vote: Employee Voting Entitlements on Federal Election Day

We’re pleased to share an informative article in which our colleague, Salvador Pasquel Villegas, provides his insight as to how employers in Mexico should approach the new labour relations environment brought on by the recent legislative reform. The article, published by the Society for Human Resource Management, is accessible here.

 

 

Forty percent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. Moreover, 7% of adult internet users in Canada self-reported experiencing cyberbullying at some point in their life. The most common form of cyberbullying involves receiving threatening or aggressive emails or instant messages.[1] Continue Reading Beyond the Playground: Stamping out Workplace Cyberbullying

We’re thrilled to announce the release of a new edition of The Global Employer: Focus on Global Immigration & Mobility.

This handbook is the go-to resource for in-house counsel, human resource managers and global relocation professionals to identify key mobility issues — ranging from business immigration and compliance, to employment and compensation. It provides strategic guidance and need-to-know information to help employers manage cross-border movement of managers, professionals, trainees and business visitors.

Click here to request a complimentary copy for yourself or your colleagues.

Companies worldwide face rising pressure to comply with international labour and human rights standards both within their operations and in their supply chains. In addition to the harmful impact on workers, failing to address labour and human rights risks can result in serious brand damage and legal risk, with consequent financial implications for the business. We’re pleased to share our recent Bloomberg publication, here, with an update on existing and proposed legislation and best practices for mitigating risk.

Originally published in Bloomberg Law August 2019. Reproduced with permission. Copyright 2019 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. www.bna.com

 

Changes to the Canada Labour Code (“CLC” or “Code”) are effective on September 1, 2019, or on a date to be named. To ensure compliance, federally regulated employers should review their policies and practices.

This is part two of a two-part series summarizing the changes.  Part one focused on federal employment standards related to vacation, holiday and leave entitlements.  This part summarizes the remaining changes. Continue Reading Now Effective: Changes to the Canada Labour Code (Part Two)