Update of New Laws for Federally Regulated Employers

Pay Equity Changes

On August 31, 2021, new laws came into force aimed at addressing systemic gender-based pay discrimination of federally regulated employees.[1]
The new laws:
  • Require federally regulated employers (“Employers”) to create Pay Equity Plans (“Plans”), which are to be developed based on formulas set out in the Regulations;
  • Require Employers with 10 or more employees to implement a Plan within three years (before August 31, 2024);
  • Require Employers with 100 or more employees to create Pay Equity Committees (“Committees”);
  • Require Employers with unionized workforces of 10 to 99 employees to establish a Committee;
  • Require Employers to provide notice to employees before November 1, 2021 of the Employer’s obligation to establish a Plan; and
  • Require Employers to make all reasonable efforts to establish a Committee before November 1, 2021.

New Federal Statutory Holiday: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

A new statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, is to be observed on September 30.[2] The purpose of the holiday is a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action number 80, a provision aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and advance reconciliation, which states: 

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The holiday impacts federally regulated employees and is considered a “general holiday” under the Canada Labour Code. The holiday may also impact provincially regulated employers, subject to language in employer’s employment contracts and collective agreements.
The law provides that federally regulated employees will be entitled to paid time off for the holiday. If the day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the employee will be entitled to a paid day off on the date either preceding it or after it.

New Federal Minimum Wage Requirement

A new federal minimum wage of $15.00 an hour comes into force on December 29, 2021.[3]
If the minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage in the province or territory where a federally regulated employee is usually employed, then the federal employer must pay at least the minimum wage established in that province.[4] Currently, this provision is applicable in:
  • Nunavut (minimum wage is $16.00 an hour);
  • British Columbia (minimum wage is $15.20 an hour); and
  • Northwest Territories (Starting September 1, 2021 minimum wage is $15.20 an hour).

New Bereavement Leave Terms

As of September 29, 2021, federally regulated employees will be entitled up to 10 days of bereavement a year, up from five days.[5] The entitlement is now available if the leave is taken within six weeks of a funeral, burial, or memorial service of an immediate family member, or a family member who an employee has been caring for on
critical illness leave or compassionate care leave.
The definition of family member includes children, siblings, parents, common law partners, grandparents, parent- or grandparent-in-law, uncles, aunts, nieces or nephews, and foster parent or child, and spouses, and people whom the employee considers to be like close relatives. [6]
[1] Pay Equity Act , SC 2018, c 27, s 416, and the Pay Equity Regulations , SOR/2021-161
[2] Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and
[3] Budget Implementation Act , 2021, No 1
[4] Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2, s 178(1)(a).
[5] Bill C-220, An Act to Amend the Canada Labour Code (bereavement leave), SC 2021, c 17
[6] Employment Insurance Regulations, SOR/96-332
Disclaimer: This summary update of legislation changes is provided as an information service. Legislation is subject to changes, and this information is not provided as legal opinion or advice. If you have any questions on how to interpret and apply the new laws, please contact the team at Neuman Thompson. Neuman Thompson uses your contact information to send you information electronically on labour and employment legal topics that may be of interest to you. If you have any questions about our information practices or obligations under Canada's anti-spam laws, please contact us at tlewis@ntlaw.ca.
The information in this update is intended as general information and should not be relied on as legal advice.