What Should You Know About Labour Law?

You may have noticed, there's an inherent hierarchy between employees and employers. workers. Laws governing the labour market address this disparity of power and allow both parties are able to negotiate.

Without laws governing labour there is no way to have a productive workforce. If you're either an employee or employer, here are some important things to be aware of Labour Laws to avoid any legal penalties.

Are You Covered Under Federal or Provincial Canadian Labour Laws?

Labor laws aren't identical in all countries, as 90 percent of these fall in the province level.

However, certain industries are subject to Federal law. Federal law isn't restricted to a single province.

Businesses that fall under federal labor laws include:

  • Telegraphs, railways and canals or other companies that connect provinces, such as ones that cross provincial boundaries
  • Businesses or projects that involve navigation and shipping
  • Aircraft, air transportation and aerodromes
  • Radio stations.
  • Canadian banks as well as other banks that fall under subsection 2 under the Bank Act
  • Businesses that the Parliament considers to be significant for the nation, or at least two provinces
  • Businesses that are covered by the Ocean Act
  • Telecommunications operations are covered under Federal Telecommunication Act Federal Telecommunication Act
  • Crown corporations

Federal labor laws also protect businesses that aren't in the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial labour laws.

Work Hours and Federal Holidays

Federal laws safeguard employees from working too long and also allow them to take general holiday days..

You must compensate your employees when they are working on holidays that fall on general holidays. This can be done through time banking, holiday pay or both. The exact amount will depend on the contract of employment as that it meets the minimum requirements that is required by law.

The norm for working duration for work hours in Canada includes 8 hours. However, many industries have 12 hour shifts. This is a modified schedule of work. Every hour that goes over the limit the 12 hours is considered to be overtime.

The typical work week is 48 hours long, and any hour that goes over is considered to be overtime.


It is possible to alter these standards with the help of employers and unions, however they'll still have to adhere to the minimum requirements set out in the Labour Code. Also, it is possible to modify them through an official permit from the federal government if all requirements are met, naturally.

Dismissal, Laid off, and then Quitting

Canadian Labour Laws protect employees from being laid off or dismissed off without payment or notification.

Typically, employers inform employees at least two weeks prior to the date of termination, in writing giving the reason for the termination.

There are some exceptions to this, such as:

  • If an employee takes an act that requires immediate dismissal, the employee is immediately terminated.
  • If the employer provides an amount of money equivalent to two weeks of wage , to be paid, two weeks notice (minimum)

However, employees aren't required to give an unconstitutional notice of two weeks when they quit their job. Except, of course, the contract states otherwise.

Occupational Health and Safety Standards

The Canadian Labor Code has set out the Occupational Health and Safety legislation to ensure that employers be able to meet the minimum standards for safety and health at work.

If an employer works using hazardous material, they should be aware. Also, they must get W.H.M.I.S instruction to recognize them.

If a company employs greater than twenty employees it is required to establish an Health and Safety Committee, and they should post minutes and inspections from the meetings for employees to view.

Other norms include:

  • Safety equipment and first aid
  • Personal protective equipment is required for any job that require them
  • Health and sanitation standards that are minimum
  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Other emergency measures, including fire
  • Safety standards to prevent accidents

Job Reassignment or Necessary Leave

If an employee has a child who is nursing or holds a medical certification that restricts their work, they may apply for up to 24 weeks of work that is modified to meet the needs of their child. Employers will then need explain the altered obligations of the employee. If employers are not able to offer modifications to their duties, then an amount of money or the option of a leave of absence would suffice.

If parents are expecting a baby the child can be granted the opportunity to stay for upto 63 weeks in which to stay at home. Additionally, there is a provision that permits parents to look after their child up to 17 weeks.