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Canada Labour Code Changes Taking Effect in 2020

As the workforce continues to change over time, changes in protections for workers and employees are reflected in legislation. This includes the Canada Labour Code.

Some amendments to the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) came into effect on September 1, 2019, under Bill C-63, providing employees with more flexibility for work arrangements, and new and updated leave standards to name a few. Some amendments are only now set to come into force during 2020.

This article outlines some of the 2020 changes to the CLC, and what employees and employers should know.

Violence and Harassment

The CLC will define “harassment” and “violence”, and will require employers to develop policies and investigate misconduct.

Employers will also be required to ensure they have accessible internal complaint resolution processes.

Misclassification of Employment Status

One change to the CLC includes an express provision that employers cannot misclassify the status of an employee’s employment to avoid CLC obligations. This would normally involve the practice of falsely alleging an employee is an independent contractor to avoid termination entitlements.

Employers have the obligation to prove that the worker was not an employee.

Administration and Enforcement of the CLC

New monetary penalties will be enforced against employers who violate Parts II and III of the CLC, and employers may be publicly named as violators.

For example, if an employer has been found to misclassify an employee, they may be required to pay monetary penalties and may be publicly named. Monetary penalties can go up to $250,000.00 for violations.

Additionally, employers will now be required to provide employees with information about their CLC rights and terms of their employment..

Protection of Interns

Under the recent changes, unpaid internships must relate to a formal educational program. Unpaid internships are set to receive certain labour standard protections related to maximum work hours, weekly days of rest, and general holidays.

Changes to Unjust Dismissal Complaints

As part of the recent changes, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (“CIRB”) will have new powers to summarily dismiss complaints brought before it if the complaints are without merit. Complaints can also be deemed withdrawn by the CIRB if a complainant is instructed by an inspector to refer a complaint to the CIRB and fails to do so. The CIRB will also be empowered to suspend or reject complaints in whole or in part based on specific criteria.

Protections Related to Temporary Help Agencies

Under the CLC’s upcoming changes, employees of temporary help agencies will be protected from being charged fees for being assigned work. Temporary help agencies themselves will be prohibited from paying their employees less than other employees performing substantially the same work. Fees are also prohibited for assigning employees to perform work for a client, or for establishing an employment relationship with a client.

Temporary help agencies cannot reprise against employees requesting a review of wages, nor can clients of a temporary help agency reduce an employee’s wages. 

Equal Pay

Under the newly enacted changes, employers cannot pay an employee lower wages than other employees as a result in a difference of the employee’s status, such as casual, part-time, temporary, or seasonal employees.


Notice of termination has also been adjusted to require employers of fewer than 50 employees to provide two (2) weeks notice or pay in lieu for employees who has worked at least three (3) months, and an additional week of notice for every completed year of continuous employment. For more clarity:

Service Time Notice
3 Months+ 2 Weeks
3 Years 3 Weeks
4 Years 4 Weeks
5 Years 5 Weeks
6 Years 6 Weeks
7 Years 7 Weeks
8 Years 8 Weeks

Furthermore, group terminations will now be required to provide 16 weeks of notice, pay in lieu, or a combination of both.

Contact Us

If you are an employer or an employee needing assistance with understanding and implementing the changes to the Canada Labour Code, our team of experienced legal professionals at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at 1-(800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support, visit our CLO program page for our strategic solutions.


Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as, or should be construed as legal advice, and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call 1-(800)771-7882, or email [email protected].