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21 November 2018
Recent amendments to the Labour Code, brought about by Bill C-44, have been overshadowed by the dramatic changes to provincial labour and employment laws earlier in 2018. While big changes – including a significant increase in minimum wages in several provinces – have garnered most of the attention, for federally regulated employers, the changes to the code must be considered. The code's amendments will affect the way in which certain complaints brought against such employers are launched and adjudicated.
Currently, unjust dismissal complaints of non-union employees are referred to individual adjudicators. This happens if the complaints are not settled by the parties with the assistance of a federal inspector. With the code's amendments, the powers, duties and functions of adjudicators will be transferred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. The board will soon have responsibility for hearing unjust dismissal complaints.
In addition, Bill C-44 introduces a complaint mechanism relating to reprisals for an employee who believes that they have been dismissed, suspended, laid off, demoted, disciplined or otherwise penalised for:
Such a complaint can be filed within 90 days after the date of the reprisal. Those reprisal complaints will also be heard by the board.
These changes will soon place more cases before the board. However, it is unclear when the board will begin hearing these cases or what, if any, affect there will be on the timeline for processing such complaints.
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