Changes to federal employment standards take effect in July

This article was prepared with the assistance of summer law student Tye Hapke.

Federally regulated employers will soon have new statutory obligations for reimbursing employment expenses and providing employment information to employees when amendments to the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) take effect on July 9, 2023.

Reimbursement of reasonable work-related expenses

The amendments will require federally regulated employers to reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses.

Amendments to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (the “Regulations”) provide guidance on what expenses will be considered “work-related” and whether or not they are reasonable in the circumstances. Some of the factors include whether the expense enables the employee to perform their work, whether the employee incurred the expense in good faith and whether the expense was incurred for a legitimate business purpose and not for personal use or enjoyment.

If the expenses are both work-related and reasonable, an employer must reimburse the employee 30 days after the employee submits the claim for payment, unless a written agreement between the employee or union and employer provides for a different time period.

Unionized employees will not be entitled to reimbursement for any expenses they’re required to pay in accordance with their governing collective agreement or any other written agreement between their trade union and employer. Non-unionized employees will not be reimbursed for any expenses they’re required to pay in accordance with any written agreement with their employer.

Employee information regulations

The Regulations will require employers to provide employees with a written statement containing information about their employment, including their job title and a brief description of their duties and responsibilities, their hours of work and mandatory deductions from wages.

This information must be provided to existing employees within 90 days of July 9, 2023, and within 30 days of employment for newly hired employees. If the nature of an employee’s work changes, an updated statement must be provided to the employee within 30 days.

The amendments also require employers to provide employees with copies of any materials from the Minister of Labour regarding employer and employee rights and obligations under the CLC. This information must be provided directly to existing employees within 90 days of July 9, 2023, or when the Minister first makes the information available, and within 30 days of employment for newly hired employees. Employers need to post these materials in a readily accessible place and ensure that employees have copies of the most recent materials.

Terminated employees will also need to be provided with current materials published by the Minister regarding termination.

We recommend federally regulated employers review their expense reimbursement policies and practices, their onboarding processes and documentation, as well as their termination practices to ensure compliance the newest CLC amendments. Have questions about how to properly address these amendments within your workplace? Contact a member of our Labour & Employment team.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.