Legislation could affect you

In 2013, when Justin Trudeau was the Leader of the Liberal Party, he made public comments on the use of omnibus legislation and stated:

“I wouldn’t use them, period.”

Since that time, despite this promise, the Trudeau Liberal government has continued to use omnibus legislation.

Most common are Budget Implementation Bills, often referred to as BIAs.

It was within a BIA that changes were made to the Canada Labour Code that impacts federally regulated workplaces.

Some examples of federally regulated workplaces include banking, the telecommunications sector as well as much of the air, rail and marine transportation industries.

The changes will come into force next week, on Sept. 1, and propose significant changes.

Here are a few examples:

Shift changes: Employers will need to provide 24 hours’ notice of a change or addition to a work period or shift. Subject to exemptions for emergencies.

Overtime refusal: Employees will have the right to refuse overtime. Subject to exemptions for emergencies.

Notice of schedule: Employers will be required to provide 96 hours’ notice of an employee’s work schedule. Employees may refuse shifts starting less than 96 hours after the schedule is received.

Leave for Aboriginal practices: Aboriginal employees, who have at least three consecutive months of continuous employment, may take up to five days unpaid leave each calendar year to participate in traditional Aboriginal practices.

Personal leave: Employees will be entitled to personal leave of up to five days per calendar year, including three days with pay, after three consecutive months of continuous employment.

Holiday pay: The 30-day length of employment requirement for holiday pay will be eliminated. All employees will now be entitled to holiday pay.

Although this is just a summary of some of the many changes, I am certain most would agree that these changes are undeniably employee friendly.

This fact should not be surprising, given that we are on the eve of a federal election.

However, breaking news out of Ottawa this week from “The Logic” has revealed “that some companies have already been granted temporary exemptions, effective Sept. 1." 

It has been further reported that other exemptions may be pending.

In other words, some federally regulated employees expecting these new changes to be in effect on Sept. 1 will be disappointed.

As to what employers have been exempted and why remains a subject without answers.

I believe it is everyone’s interests, regardless of their thoughts on these new laws, that we protect our legislative processes to ensure that special favours are not seen to advance the cause of some, at the expense of others.

This leads to my question for this week. 

  • Should the Trudeau Government publish a list of all of the exempted employers, including any related lobbying efforts by said employers, and provide the rationale for these exemptions?


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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