Government should protect workers, reverse labour code exemptions for wealthy corporations

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is calling on the government to reverse the exemptions granted to employers under the new Canada Labour Code, and stand up for workers in precarious jobs.

Successful efforts by major corporations will deny their workers new rights under the labour code that are intended to set fairer minimum standards for job scheduling, vacation pay, work breaks and leave for more than 900,000 employees in federally regulated workplaces like banks, airlines and shipping companies.

The Liberal government has buckled to corporate demands for exemptions to several important rights under the Code – 30-minute unpaid breaks, eight hours of rest between shifts, 24-hour notice of a shift change and 96 hours’ notice of schedule.

“The government has said it stands with workers, but that simply turns out not to be the case,” said Chris Aylward, Public Service Alliance of Canada National President. “Members of Parliament have spoken and agreed employees deserve long-overdue improvements to their work-life balance. This is not the time to cave to corporate interests at the expense of vulnerable workers.”

The exemptions affect thousands of road workers, telecommunications and broadcasting workers, flight attendants, railway employees and couriers, among others. This will allow companies to continue business as usual and effectively leaves no recourse for workers.

These massive corporations – like WestJet, UPS and CN – have the resources to easily accommodate these changes. But parents with young children and workers caring for their aging relatives don't have that same luxury.

“The solution is simple: the government should reverse these blanket exemptions designed to benefit wealthy corporations and stand up for the interest of working Canadians,” added Aylward.


August 30, 2019