New federal labour law changes a giant step backwards for innovation and productivity

    October 31, 2018

    New labour standards tabled on October 29 by the federal government in its omnibus budget bill are deeply concerning for small businesses already dealing with a slew of punitive tax changes and increasing payroll costs, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

    "Just after the new Ontario government got rid of many of these job-killing ideas, the feds come along and pull them into the Canada Labour Code," said Dan Kelly, CFIB's president. "There is nothing in this that will improve the innovation or productivity of a single Canadian workplace. Instead, it will bind the hands of entrepreneurs with reams of new red tape."

    The labour changes included in Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, will introduce new standards for federally-regulated businesses starting as soon as next year:

    Five days of personal leave, with three of those days paid
    Requirement to provide 96 hours (4 days) advance notice of schedules
    Four weeks of paid vacation after 10 years or more of service
    Eliminating the length of service requirement for certain leaves, including parental leave
    Complex equal pay rules for casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees
    "Instead of modernizing workplace rules, this will move us backwards to the days where everyone had or wanted to have a 9 to 5 job with little flexibility to balance their needs," added Kelly. "We are concerned for SMEs that are federally regulated and even more concerned that big unions will use this to pressure provincial governments – which regulate the majority of workplaces – to do the same."

    "It is alarming that changes of this nature are included in a budget implementation bill, providing almost no opportunity for SMEs to share their concerns," Kelly said. "It appears government has learned very little from last year's small business tax change fiasco."

    Government has also launched an expert panel to examine issues like minimum wage, the right to disconnect and providing a collective voice for non-unionized employees. "It will be critical to have small business representation in this future review," Kelly concluded. "Are unions now calling for mandatory dues from workers who don't wish to be unionized?"

    Canadian Federation of Independent Business