Update on Bill C-86 - Changes to Canada Labour Code effective September 1, 2019

August 21, 2019

Federally regulated employers should be aware of certain changes proposed by Bill C-86 that will become effective on September 1, 2019.

On March 20, 2019 we published a blog regarding substantial changes to the Canada Labour Code proposed by Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures ("Bill C-86"). We noted that most of the changes were not yet in force. On June 12, 2019, an order of the Governor in Council fixed September 1, 2019 as the date on which certain amendments will come into force. This blog will provide an update regarding the changes that will become effective September 1, 2019.


The amendments to the leave provisions will become effective September 1, 2019. This means that employees will be entitled to medical leaves, family violence leaves, court or jury duty leaves, and personal responsibilities leaves as described in our previous blog.

Additionally, employees will no longer need to complete at least six months of continuous service before being entitled to maternity leave, parental leave, critical illness leave, leave related to death or disappearance of a child, and general holiday pay.

Scheduling and Hours of Work

New employee entitlements to rest periods will become effective September 1, 2019. These include:

  • unpaid breaks of 30 minutes for every 5 hours of work (such breaks must be paid if the employer requires the employee to be at their disposal during the 30 minute period and the breaks are subject to postponement or cancellation in the case of an emergency);
  • minimum 8 hour rest period between work periods or shifts (the rest period is subject to postponement or cancellation in the case of an emergency); and
  • unpaid breaks for breastfeeding, pumping breastmilk or for medical reasons (an employee must provide evidence to support requests for unpaid breaks for medical reasons and an employer may request a written medical certificate setting out the length and frequency of such breaks).

Additionally, starting September 1, 2019, employers will be required to provide employees with at least 96 hours advance written notice of work schedules subject to emergencies.

Vacation Pay

On September 1, 2019, minimum vacation entitlements will be as follows:

Years of Continuous Service

Vacation Entitlement

1 year

2 weeks

5 years

3 weeks

10 years

4 weeks

Final Thoughts

Federally regulated employer should be aware of and prepare for the changes that will be effective September 1, 2019. Employers should also prepare for the remaining changes not yet in force. We will endeavor to keep you apprised of the implementation dates of the remaining changes introduced by Bill C-86.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is intended to convey general information about legal issues and developments as of the indicated date. It does not constitute legal advice and must not be treated or relied on as such. Please read our full disclaimer at www.stikeman.com/legal-notice.

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