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Newsletter – AUGUST 2023


Ontario’s Ministry of Labour proposing to introduce heat-stress regulations to better protect workers

As global temperatures continue to rise each year, both globally and here in Canada, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is taking steps to better protect workers from heat-related issues while they’re working.

They’re proposing new rules under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to address heat stress. These proposed rules would ensure that employers are taking action to keep workers safe from dangerous heat conditions using the proposed new guidelines.

The Ministry of Labour affirms that heat stress is a big cause of the illnesses that workers can from their jobs, and that sometimes these illnesses are fatal. Based on information from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), there were 350 cases of construction workers getting sick from heat exhaustion between 2006 and 2015, and they had time lost from work because of it.

The OHSA establishes that employers are required to do everything they can to keep workers safe, which includes protecting them from heat-related weather conditions that could make them sick.

The new proposed rules include setting limits for how much heat workers can be exposed to, and ensuring that employers plan and use different methods to control heat exposure and/or keep it at a safe level for workers.


Understanding the Enforceability of Termination Clauses: A Comparative Analysis of BC and Ontario Approaches

The Competition Bureau of Canada has taken a significant stride in enhancing competition laws with the recent introduction of guidelines targeting the criminalization of wage-fixing and no-poach agreements between unrelated employers. This crucial amendment to the Canadian Competition Act aims to align the country’s regulations with international standards, mirroring those already in place in the United States and other jurisdictions. In effect since June 23, 2023, after a one-year grace period, these new guidelines mark a milestone in promoting fair competition and protecting the rights of workers. In this article, we explore the finer details of these groundbreaking changes, shedding light on their potential implications for businesses and the Canadian job market.


Surreal HR Stories and Scenarios: Great Lessons for Employers


Federally-Regulated Employers in Canada Required to Provide Free Menstrual Products for Employees

Amendments to the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, operating under the Canada Labour Code, will require employers under federal jurisdiction to make menstrual products available to their staff and place disposal containers in all workplace restrooms, effective from December 15, 2023.

Both public and private employers governed by federal regulations in Canada – encompassing sectors such as banking, railways, airlines, telecommunications, and others – will have an obligation to provide tampons and pads to their employees at no cost. These products must be made available in all toilet rooms regardless of assigned gender.

If the provision of products within restrooms is impractical, employers must ensure an alternative location within the same workplace, under their control, that is accessible to all workers at all times, and reasonably private. Employers are not constrained to a specific brand of menstrual products and are not required to seek input from employees regarding preferred brands.

Furthermore, federally-regulated employers will be required to install covered disposal containers for menstrual products in any single-toilet restroom and within each toilet stall in multi-toilet restrooms, irrespective of the gender designation of the restroom.


Canada plans new temporary foreign workers program to give ‘trusted’ employers quicker access

Specific Canadian employers with a good track record for employment will be issued permits that are good for three years, enabling them to bring in temporary foreign workers without the need to reapply for permission for new positions within the 36-month time frame.

Currently, employers must undergo the labour market impact assessment (LMIA), every time they hire workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure there’s a need to fill the job. 

They must receive a positive assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada in order to hire the foreign workers.

The federal government is now rolling out a “trusted employer program” that is meant to reduce red tape and make it easier for Canadian employers to bring in temporary foreign workers.

Officials say the Recognized Employer Pilot program will be open for applications as soon as September 2023, first to employers in agriculture, then to all others starting in January 2024.

Ontario pledges $3.6M to train more women, young people as construction workers

Ontario’s provincial government has announced its commitment to allocate $3.6 million towards offering no-cost training initiatives aimed at attracting greater numbers of women and young individuals to engage in the construction sector. This strategic move comes as the province strives to tackle a labour shortage that poses a potential threat to its housing objectives.

The allocated funding will be directed to support three specific projects, all anticipated to assist around 2,200 women and young participants in “preparing for rewarding and well-compensated careers within the construction trades,” as stated in a press release issued on Tuesday.


At present, women constitute less than five percent of the total construction workforce in Ontario, as highlighted by the provincial announcement.


BC payroll worker must pay back $1.9 million in misappropriated funds

A former employee of B.A. Blacktop, a company based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, has been ordered by the British Columbia Supreme Court to pay over $2 million, including punitive damages. The worker, who was previously a payroll administrator and later a payroll supervisor, misappropriated money from the company’s payroll system over a period of six years, using her knowledge of the system to funnel unauthorized payments into her bank accounts.

An internal investigation revealed 885 unauthorized payments totaling more than $1.9 million. The court found the worker’s actions to be deliberate and methodical, driven by a gambling addiction. The worker’s claims of mistreatment in the workplace were unsupported and did not negate her guilt. The court ruled that she must repay the misappropriated amount, along with punitive damages and additional costs.

Saskatchewan initiates comprehensive employment standards review

The Saskatchewan government has launched a significant review of the Employment Act, marking the first substantial examination in over ten years. The focus of this review encompasses a range of provisions, with particular attention on aspects like work hours and layoffs. The Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety is seeking feedback from employers and employees regarding the employment standards specified in The Saskatchewan Employment Act and its associated regulations:


  • The Assignment of Wages Regulations
  • The Employment Standards Regulations
  • The Conditions of Employment Regulations
  • The Minimum Wage Regulations, 2014

This comprehensive evaluation aims to accomplish several objectives, including understanding the concerns of both employers and employees in Saskatchewan, streamlining regulations to eliminate redundancy and unnecessary bureaucratic processes, and addressing any necessary updates.

Furthermore, the review acknowledges the evolving nature of work, particularly in the context of remote work facilitated by devices such as smartphones and laptops. With this in mind, the government is exploring potential adjustments to regulations surrounding work hours and the extent to which employees are expected to be available to their employers even when working from home. Notably, the concept of the “Right to Disconnect” has been introduced as a topic for feedback within this context.

The Saskatchewan government has opened the discussion for public input on various aspects, including the provided discussion paper, proposed changes to the Employment Act, and any facets of employment standards. Interested parties are encouraged to share their feedback from the launch of this initiative on Monday until October 31, 2023, to:

Employment Standards Review
Corporate Services Division
Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety
300–1870 Albert Street
Regina, SK S4P 4W1

You can also respond via email:


Minimum wage in Manitoba to hit $15.30/hour in October

Starting October 1, 2023, Manitoba’s minimum wage will see an increase to $15.30 per hour. This adjustment, which typically occurs each fall to align with inflation, marks a step up from the current rate of $14.15 per hour following the previous hike on April 1.

This initial increase was part of a government initiative aimed at combating inflation. To aid small businesses in managing the resulting heightened costs, a temporary subsidy was introduced last fall.

Under this program, businesses with a workforce of up to 20 employees are eligible for a subsidy of up to 50 cents per hour for each employee earning the minimum wage.

Alberta’s hospitality industry welcomes thousands of workers in July

In the past month, Alberta’s hospitality sector saw a significant influx of workers, with a substantial portion finding employment in food service and accommodation roles.

Based on data from Statistics Canada that was examined by Alberta Central, the province’s food service and accommodation industry experienced a notable surge of 10,600 job additions last month. This increase stood out as the most substantial growth among all sectors.



Northwest Territories announce minimum wage boost in September

Starting September 1st, the Northwest Territories will raise the hourly minimum wage from $15.20 to $16.05. This adjustment comes after the previous increase of $1.74 in September 2021, ending a period of no change since April 2018. Going forward, the territorial government has announced that the minimum wage will undergo annual adjustments each September.


Navigating Hygiene Conversations: Fostering Workplace Wellness

Maintaining a productive and harmonious workplace requires addressing a range of issues, and one topic that can often lead to discomfort is personal hygiene. While it might be an uncomfortable subject, discussing hygiene concerns with employees is essential in ensuring a comfortable and healthy work environment. From body odour to excessive use of deodorants, hygiene conversations play a pivotal role in upholding workplace wellness. In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of managing hygiene conversations effectively, while respecting individual differences and fostering a culture of openness.


Are unpaid internships illegal in Canada?

  • Yes 35% 35%
  • No 37% 37%
  • Not Sure 21% 21%
  • Rules vary with jurisdiction 7% 7%


What do you think are the main challenges in effectively implementing accommodation measures based on functional abilities information?

  • Budget constraints
  • Resistance from employees
  • Complexity of the process
  • Other


Executive Director
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“We are a small organization and we are really focused on our programs and our services and we don’t have a lot of expertise and resources inside the organization to deal with the corporate functions like recruiting. It’s a very competitive job market right now and we really needed to get some help to get out the word out to as many people across the country in the province about the separate opportunities that we have. We already deal with HR Covered for other things and I know from the commitment and the professionalism that HR Covered has shown that I trusted that they would be able to handle this as well[…]because we’re a small not-for-profit going with a percentage is a barrier for us and we don’t have a lot of dollars[…]so this was affordable, realistic and I think good value for money.”