In the past 12 months, the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) has undergone significant amendments, creating or revising a host of employment obligations for federally regulated employers. These changes include:
Increased Termination Entitlements
The most notable change to the Code, however, is the significant increase to the minimum termination notice owing to employees terminated on a without cause basis.
Previously, employees were generally entitled to two weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice upon termination of employment without cause. This required notice applied to all employees after three months of continuous service and did not increase regardless of the employee’s length of service.
Effective February 1, 2024, this requirement will drastically change. Entitlement to termination notice will operate on graduated basis – the notice requirements will be very similar to the mechanism applying to provincially-regulated employees in Ontario and British Columbia. Employees will continue to gain entitlement to two weeks’ notice after three months’ service but then will be entitled to an additional week of notice after three consecutive years of employment. Employees will then gain an additional week of notice entitlement after each additional year of continuous employment, up to a maximum of eight weeks.
Please note that, after these changes takes effect, federally regulated employees will remain entitled to severance pay under section 235 of the Code, in addition to the enhanced termination notice or pay in lieu of same. Non-managerial employees will also retain access to the unjust dismissal protections stemming from section 240 of the Code.
Preparing for Change
To smoothly adapt to these changes, federally regulated employers should take several proactive steps:
For more information on any of the changes to the Code detailed above, or to discuss a review of your current employment contracts, please contact Matthew E. McCarthy of our employment group.