There was a flurry of legislative activity that took place across Canada throughout 2018, with most of the initiatives taking effect, or in some cases pausing effect, in 2019. This post will highlight some of these labor and employment changes of which employers should be aware.
Canadian Employment Law Updates in Ontario
Beginning in 2019, the requirement to offer employees 10 days of personal emergency leave has been removed. Instead, employees are to receive a total of eight unpaid days of leave, which shall be divided as follows:
- 3 days for personal illness
- 3 days for family responsibilities (this can be personal illness or obligations associated with child-care)
- 2 days for bereavement
Also, shifting in 2019, if there is a dispute as to whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the employer no longer has the onus to prove that the individual is not an employee. This represents a substantial change to the burden of proof for disputes relating to misclassified employees.
Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act has been put on hold. In mid-2018, Ontario passed the Pay Transparency Act and was set to take effect on January 1, 2019, requiring Ontario employers to publish a salary rate or range in all publicly advertised job postings, prohibiting employers from asking candidates about their past compensation, and eventually requiring employers to post pay transparency reports online. However, Ontario’s new provincial government passed legislation which effectively placed a hold on that Act and its future remains uncertain.
Canadian Employment Law Updates in Quebec
In 2019, workers in Quebec are now entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after three years of working for the same employer. The previous regulation required that an employee work for five years for the same employer in order to be entitled to the same level of paid vacation.
Additionally, there are several circumstances in Quebec that permit a worker up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. In 2019, domestic violence was added to the list of leaves of absence entitling an employee to up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave.
Employment Law Changes in British Columbia
In British Columbia, a new payroll tax has taken effect and is being referred to as the Employer Health Tax. The tax is intended to offset the loss of revenue from medical service plan premiums, which are being phased out. The tax will apply to companies with annual payrolls of over $500,000 CAD and will be calculated as 2.925% x (British Columbia remuneration – $500,000). For companies with annual payrolls exceeding $1,500,000, the calculation will be 1.95% x total British Columbia remuneration.
Break into the Canadian Market with an Experienced Expansion Partner
As one can see from the aforementioned sampling, there are quite a few labor and employment changes that are taking hold in across Canadian provinces in 2019. For non-Canadian employers looking at The Great White North, these should serve to highlight the need to seek out experienced HR support in Canada before hiring employees in the country.
Velocity Global is a trusted expansion partner for hundreds of globally expanding businesses, many of which have made Canada their global expansion destination. If your company is considering expanding into Canada, reach out to Velocity Global to learn more about how our International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) solution can have you operating in Canada in as few as 48 hours—no entity required.
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