1. What changes to the Canada Labour Code can federally regulated employers expect this year?
Several new measures have been slated to come into force over the course of the next year. These are grouped into three main categories. The first is labour standards which deals with things like leaves, work-life balance, as well as break times. These are actually going to be coming into force very quickly on September 1st of this year. Second, the area of wage fairness involves things like pay equity and in fact the federal government is introducing a new proactive pay equity legislation scheme, which will replace the old complaint based system that's been in existence up until now. Even though this is new, provinces like Quebec and Ontario and in the rest of Canada have had these legislations for quite some time. We can expect to see these in the year 2020. And finally in the area of occupational health and safety there'll be a number of changes, but the most interesting and significant of them, is the new regulations that are going to be put forward for harassment and violence in the workplace. We can expect to see these in 2020.
2. Which changes may be challenging for employers to implement?
If they're adopted the way they're drafted right now, the changes to the regulations on harassment and violence in the workplace are wide-ranging and comprehensive to the point where I think they're going to constitute a game changer for employers.That's because employers will have to ensure that their policies meet the new requirements that are very well spelled out in the new regulations. These involve things like determining a way to be informed of external dangers like family violence and stalking as well as developing an emergency process to assist employees if they're in danger or if they're in the risk of being in danger. Another area that's going to be interesting is that employers will have to engage in workplace assessments to identify risks of harassment and violence in the workplace. These assessments will have to be conducted every three years. Based on these proposed changes employers will need to engage in a comprehensive analysis of how they address harassment and violence in the workplace.
3. What can employers do to prepare for the new workplace harassment and violence regulations?
First, the new regulations will require that employers put in place a formal resolution process in order to receive as well as manage complaints. This will mean identifying and training a person who will be called a designated recipient and that person will be responsible for managing the complaint from the initial information stage, through to a new conciliation process that will be required, and then ultimately through to the investigation stage of the complaints not resolved.