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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
|Province||Minimum Hourly Wage||Notes|
|Alberta||$15.00||Effective as of October 1, 2018.|
|British Columbia||$15.20||Effective as of June 1, 2021.|
|Manitoba||$11.90||Effective as of October 1, 2020. The MB minimum wage will increase to $11.95 on October 1, 2021. The minimum wage in MB is adjusted annually on October 1 based on the inflation rate.|
|New Brunswick||$11.75||Effective as of April 1, 2021. The minimum wage in NB is adjusted annually on April 1 relative to the Consumer Price Index.|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$12.50||Effective as of April 1, 2021. The minimum wage will increase an additional $0.25 on October 1, 2021. The minimum wage in Nfld will be adjusted annually on April 1 relative to the Consumer Price Index.|
|Northwest Territories||$13.46||Effective as of April 1, 2018. The N.W.T. minimum wage will increase to $15.20 on September 1, 2021. The regulation in N.W.T. does not specify that there must be an annual increase.|
|Nova Scotia||$12.95||Effective as of April 1, 2021. The minimum wage in NS will be adjusted annually on April 1 relative to the Consumer Price Index.|
|Nunavut||$16.00||Effective as of April 1, 2020. The minimum wage in NU is reviewed annually on April 1.|
|Ontario||$14.35||Effective as of October 1, 2020. The Ontario minimum wage increased to $14.35 on|
|Prince Edward Island||$13.00||Effective as of April 1, 2021.|
|Quebec||$13.50||Effective as of May 1, 2021.|
|Saskatchewan||$11.45||Effective as of October 1, 2020. The minimum wage is adjusted annually on October 1 each year relative to the Consumer Price Index, and will rise to $11.81 on October 1, 2021.|
|Yukon||$13.85||Effective as of April 1, 2021. The minimum wage is adjusted on April 1 of each year relative to the Consumer Price Index.|
Source: Retail council of Canada
Canada is open for business and welcomes business immigrants. However, you must consider the above differences before setting your business up in Canada.