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5 Reasons why HR in Canada is Different?

Sep 18, 2021 | HR Canada

Canada sits directly over the United States, making up a major piece of North America. The nations are so close, that in a few of the northern states of the U.S, Canada is just a short drive away. This can create the assumption that the HR regulations and labour laws in Canada and America are the same but the truth is otherwise. The difference is major because of the differences in working culture.

From hiring to firing, the differences are evident in the workplace policies of both countries.

  1. At-will employment vs Termination Policy

Unlike in the U.S, employers in Canada do not practice at-will employment. In the United States, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason and without giving notice, as long as the decision is not based on a factor protected by the law, such as age, gender or race.

In Canada, every employment relationship is governed by a contract that grants employees rights regarding termination. When terminating an employee, employers are required to provide reasonable notice of termination or pay. The main exception is while terminating someone for serious misconduct, incompetence or willful disobedience. Each province in Canada has its own termination policy that details the standard procedures regarding termination.

  1. Taking language and diversity into consideration

Canada is a multilingual country with a long history of immigration. Canada embraces multiculturalism and diversity, attracting immigrants from all over the world. Employers in Canada have been doing their part in integrating the “new Canadians” into their working culture. This includes translating the policies and instructions to multiple languages for integrating diversity at the workplace.

  1. Provincial Regulations

In Canada, employment is majorly regulated by provincial governments and the remaining is federally regulated. Crucial employment factors such as hours of work and overtime are regulated by the provincial government in the province where the employee is actually employed. If your business has multiple branches across different provinces, then each set of HR policies, employment contacts, etc. must be reviewed in regard to the jurisdiction of each province.

  1. Parental Benefits (add reference)

Canadian parents enjoy a good amount of generous leave by law. Birth mothers receive 15 to 17 weeks of maternity leave. Both parents―same-sex couples, opposite-gender couples and adoptive parents―can take a total of 27 to 35 weeks of parental leave and split it however they choose.

Quebec offers parents a $900 a week financial plan which is much more robust compared to other provinces. Quebec is the only province that gives the fathers an additional five weeks of paternity leave.

  1. Minimum wage

There has been a substantial increase in the minimum wage of Canadian provinces, especially British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. The minimum wage in Ontario is now CAD14.35 an hour. Check out the current minimum wage across Canada:

Minimum Wage in Canada by Province/Territory (2024)

  • Alberta: $15 per hour, effective October 1, 2018. Students under 18 years of age who work less than 28 hours per week earn a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour. Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals) earn a minimum wage of $598 per week. Domestic employees (living in their employer’s home) earn a minimum wage of $2,848 per month.
  • British Columbia: $16.75 per hour, effective June 1, 2023. For live-in camp leaders the daily rate for each day or part day worked is $133.69. For live-in home support workers the current daily rate is $124.73 per day or part day worked. The minimum wage for resident caretakers is a monthly wage based on the number of suites in the building: $1002.53 per month plus $40.17 for each suite for a building with 9 to 60 residential suites / $3414.85 per month for a building with 61 or more residential suites.
  • Federal Minimum Wage: $16.65 per hour, effective April 1, 2023.
  • Manitoba: $15.30 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. 
  • New Brunswick: $14.75 per hour, effective April 1, 2023.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. Will increase to $15.60 ($0.60 increase), effective April 1, 2024
  • Northwest Territories: $16.05 per hour, effective Sep. 1, 2023. 
  • Nova Scotia: $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will go up to $15.20 on April 1, 2024.
  • Nunavut: $19 per hour, effective January 1, 2024. 
  • Ontario: $16.55, effective October 1, 2023. The special minimum wage rates are as follows:
    • $15.60 per hour for students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or summer holidays.
    • $18.20 per hour for homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers).
    • Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides earn $82.85 per day when working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $165.75 per day when working five or more hours in a day.
  • Prince Edward Island: $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase twice in 2024, from $15 to $15.40 per hour on April 1 and from $15.40 to $16 per hour on October 1.
  • Quebec: $15.25 per hour, effective May 1, 2023.
  • Saskatchewan: $14 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2024.
    Yukon: $16.77 per hour, effective April 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.59 per hour on April 1, 2024.

Canada is open for business and welcomes business immigrants. However, you must consider the above differences before setting your business up in Canada.