Government of Canada

Government of Canada
Office of the Minister of Labour

Office of the Minister of Labour

January 17, 2007 10:30 ET

Government of Canada: National Tour on the Federal Labour Standards Review

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 17, 2007) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, will begin a tour of four cities on January 17th, to meet with employers and employees subject to federal labour laws.

The tour is a follow-up to the release of a report titled Fairness at Work: Federal Labour Standards for the 21st Century, produced by the Federal Labour Standards Review Commission (Part III of the Canada Labour Code). The report, lead by Commissioner Harry W. Arthurs, was tabled last October and contains 172 recommendations to modernize Canada's labour standards to better meet the needs of today's workers and employers.

"I look forward to hearing the views of employers and employees on the recommendations made in the Arthurs report," said Minister Blackburn. "The labour landscape has changed significantly. Now, more than ever, Canadians strive to achieve a true sense of balance between their professional and personal lives. This issue will be at the heart of discussions with our partners during this tour."

The Minister of Labour plans to meet with union and employer representatives as well as industrial relations experts.

Part III of the Canada Labour Code sets out the labour standards for employees of companies regulated by the federal government. These standards are focused in particular on overtime, work hours, vacation time and wage recovery. It is the first review of this magnitude of Canada's labour standards since the Code took effect in 1965.

Minister Blackburn will visit Montreal on January 17, Toronto on January 19, Vancouver on January 22 and Calgary on January 23. Immediately following this tour, the Minister will take part in the annual federal-provincial-territorial meeting of the ministers of Labour in Fredericton, from Wednesday January 24th to Friday the 26th, 2007.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


Commission for the Review of Part III

(Canada Labour Code)

In December 2004, a Commission for the Review of Part III of the Canada Labour Code (labour standards) was established with a mandate to bring forth recommendations to improve the administrative effectiveness of the legislation. This was the first comprehensive review of federal labour standards since this legislation was enacted in 1965.

Professor Harry W. Arthurs, well-known legal scholar and labour law expert, was appointed as Commissioner to head this Review. Commissioner Arthurs was supported by an advisory panel of labour experts including Ms. Sherry Liang, Professor Daphne Taras and Professor Gilles Trudeau. Representatives from key business and labour organizations also played an advisory role.

The purpose of the Review was to produce recommendations for the modernization of federal labour standards to ensure that they remain relevant and effective in the 21st century.

Among other issues, the Review looked at the changing nature of work, new forms of employment relationships, measures to improve work-life balance, demographic changes in the workplace and the need for effective enforcement of Part III of the Canada Labour Code.

Public hearings were held in September and October 2005, that provided an opportunity to interested individuals and organizations to express their views on how the workplace has evolved and on the diverse needs of federally regulated businesses and workers.

On October 30, 2006, the Commission presented its final report entitled Fairness at Work: Federal Labour Standards for the 21st Century, to the Minister of Labour.

Additional information on the findings of the Commission may be found at:

Labour Standards

Part III of the Canada Labour Code

The Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is responsible for developing, administering, and enforcing legislation and regulations related to the workplace, including the Canada Labour Code. The Code governs industrial relations (Part I), occupational health and safety (Part II) and labour standards (Part III).

The Purpose of Part III

The primary objective of Part III is to establish and protect the employee's right to fair and equitable conditions of employment. It contains provisions setting out minimum labour standards for employers and employees in the federal jurisdiction.

These provisions include standards relating to:

Hours of Work Bereavement Leave
Minimum Wages Group Termination of Employment
Equal Wages Individual Termination of Employment
Annual Vacations Severance Pay
General Holidays Garnishment of Wages
Multi-employer Employment Sick Leave
Maternity-related Reassignment Work-related Illness and Injury
and Leave
Maternity Leave Unjust Dismissal
Parental Leave Payment of Wages
Compassionate Care Leave Sexual Harassment

The Code establishes employment standards and allows for more favourable rights or benefits created by collective agreements, private arrangements or employer policies.

Application of Part III

Part III of the Canada Labour Code applies to employees and employers in works, undertakings or businesses under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada.

Activities that fall within federal jurisdiction include:

- air and marine transportation;

- interprovincial and international rail, road and pipeline transportation;

- banking;

- broadcasting;

- telecommunications; and

- Crown corporations.

Administration and Inspection

Inspectors in regional offices across the country ensure that federal labour standards are upheld through a mix of inspections, investigations of complaints, and promotional and informational activities.

Under the Code, inspectors are empowered to inspect and copy employers' records, require employers and employees to furnish documents, administer oaths, and take and receive affidavits and statutory declarations. As well, they have the right to enter employers' premises and question employers and employees. Employers are required to give inspectors all reasonable assistance in the performance of their duties.

The Labour Program handles an average of 7,000 assignments per year, which includes over 5,000 investigations of complaints. Each year the Program collects on the order of $2.5 to $3.0 million in unpaid wages, vacation pay, general holiday pay, severance pay and for other violations of the Code.

Contact Information

  • Media only:
    Office of Minister Blackburn
    Pierre Florea
    Human Resouces and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations