Confusion trips up labour reform rollout

Government still figuring out who will be exempt from provisions as law takes effect
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/04/2019
legislation
Sweeping federal labour reforms come into force today, but the government is still figuring out who will be exempt from key provisions. Shutterstock

OTTAWA (CP) — Sweeping federal labour reforms come into force today, but the government is still figuring out who will be exempt from key provisions.

Thousands of workers and employers are facing uncertainty after airlines, truck companies and telecoms asked Ottawa for exemptions or delays to rules they say would kneecap their operations.

The changes require federally regulated employers to give staff a 24-hour heads-up on shift changes and four days' notice for schedules. A 30-minute break every five hours and an eight-hour rest period between shifts are also mandated.

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu says some companies and employees will be exempt from those regulations until further tweaks can be made after the October election — but just which companies and employees will be on the exemption list remains up in the air.

Industry representatives say the changes would delay shipments, cancel flights and hurt Canada's economy, while labour groups say they are asking for reasonable benefits from companies that are trying to skimp on workers.

The contested amendments are part of an overhaul — three years in the making — to the Canada Labour Code, which hasn't seen a major update since the 1960s.

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