Legal News

Federal Update – Amendments to Canada Labour Code Now in Effect

Significant amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) and the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (the “Regulations”) came into effect on July 9, 2023. These amendments relate to the reimbursement of work-related expenses (section 238.1); a new requirement to distribute materials from the Minister of Labour (section 253.1); and the new requirement for a written employment statement (section 253.2). We discussed these amendments in our prior article and we provide an overview of these new amendments below.

Federally regulated employers will want to make note of the dates and deadlines noted below, and should also review their workplace policies and employment agreements to ensure they are in compliance with these new requirements.

  1. Reimbursement of Work-Related Expenses (Section 238.1 of the Code)

Employers are now required to reimburse their employees for expenses that are deemed reasonable and directly related to their occupation. The Regulations suggests that employers consult the following criteria, amongst others, to determine whether an expense is “work-related” and is “reasonable”:

1.    whether the expense enables an employee to perform work;

2.    whether incurring the expense is required by the employer as a condition of employment;

3.    whether the expense satisfies a requirement for the employee’s work imposed by an occupational health or safety standard; and

4.    whether the expense is incurred for a legitimate business purpose and not for personal use or enjoyment.

If an employee submits a claim for a work-related expense, the employer must provide the reimbursement within 30 days of receipt of the claim (unless they have agreed to an alternative period for reimbursement).

  1. Distribution of Materials from the Minister of Labour (Section 253.1)

The Code imposes a duty upon federally regulated employers to distribute any material made available by the Minister of Labour concerning employees’ rights and obligations under Part III of the Code.

For existing employees, employers are required to ensure the distribution of these materials within 90 days of July 9, 2023. Newly hired employees must be provided with this material within the first 30 days of their employment. Updated information must be provided to employees within 30 days of it becoming available.

Employees who have been terminated from their employment are also to be provided with information about rights and obligations under Part III of the Code relating to terminations of employment by no later than their last day of employment.

  1. Necessity of a Written Employment Statement (Section 253.2)

The Code now requires that Federally regulated employers provide a written employment statement to their employees detailing the terms of employment, including: the parties to the employment relationship; the job title and a brief description of the job’s duties and responsibilities; the workplace address; the employee’s start date; the term of the employment contract; the duration of the probationary period, if any; a description of the necessary qualifications and required training for the position; the hours of work and rules regarding overtime; the frequency of pay; the wage rate or salary and the overtime rate of pay; and information about how to claim reimbursement for work-related expenses.

The written statement must be provided to existing employees by October 7, 2023. Subsequent hires should receive this statement within the first 30 days of their employment. Any modifications in the employment terms may necessitate an updated statement, which must be delivered to the impacted employee(s) within 30 days of the modifications.

Employers must also retain these statements, ensuring they remain on record for a minimum of 36 months after an employee ceases to be employed by the employer.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact your Harris lawyer.