Major corporations to mark Labour Day with attack on workers’ rights under new labour code changes

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) strongly opposes employer attempts to deny workers’ rights granted by changes to the Canada Labour Code.

On September 1, progressive changes to the federal labour code will 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.

However, corporations are fighting to prevent their employees from accessing these long-overdue workplace rights. These major Canadian businesses – like WestJet, UPS and CN – want a free pass to continue denying their employees unpaid breaks at work, or the right to refuse overtime to be able to pick up their sick kids from school.

“This Labour Day should have been an opportunity to celebrate important changes to the labour code that help many of Canada’s most precarious workers,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “Instead, mega-corporations are fighting tooth and nail to claw these benefits away from workers.”

The changes to the Code, made through the adoption of two laws by the Parliament of Canada in 2017 and 2018, will make a meaningful difference in the lives of some of the country’s most vulnerable workforce.

But the sheer number of exemptions being demanded by businesses – if granted – would effectively render the new legislation meaningless for a large portion of federally regulated workers that the Parliament of Canada decided need better protections. 

Canadians should applaud the Canada Labour Code changes and push for every provincial and territorial labour code to be similarly improved. All workers need better work-life balance.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada won’t stand by while workers are shoved aside to protect profit margins, and neither should the rest of Canadians.

August 22, 2019