Canadian labour law

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Canadian labour law is that body of law which regulates the rights, restrictions obligations of trade unions, workers and employers in Canada. Canadian employment law is that body of law which regulates the rights, restrictions obligations of non-unioned workers and employers in Canada.


Both the federal and provincial (or territorial) governments have authority over labour and employment law in Canada. The constitution[1] gives exclusive federal jurisdiction over employment in specific industries, such as banking, radio and TV broadcasting, inland and maritime navigation and shipping, inland fishing, as well as any form of transportation that crosses provincial boundaries. Employment that is not subject to federal jurisdiction is governed by the laws of the province or territory where the employment takes place.

In areas of unrestricted provincial jurisdiction, each province (and increasingly each territory) is in charge. So, for example, education (except education on First Nation reserves) and municipal government are both subject to provincial legislation (the territories excepted).

While Quebec's statutory environment is considerably different in many respects, most provinces and the federal Code all follow the standard of enterprise-based bargaining structures. They also share a certification process (the details of which differ somewhat from province to province) through which unions are recognized by the state as having the support of a majority of workers in a narrowly defined workplace.

One feature common to all provincial and federal labour laws is the "Rand Formula". This legal concept allows employees in unionized workplaces to decline union membership, but requires them to pay the equivalent of basic union dues even if they decide not to be union members.

British Columbia[edit]

In 2002, the British Columbia government changed the Employment Standards Branch, replacing the investigation system that used to reply to labour law violations with an 18-page "Self-Help Kit" and mediation process. However, this has been criticized as changing the government's role "from enforcers of labour standards to being wage dispute resolvers." [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^, The Constitution Act, 1867 (U.K.), 30 & 31 Victoria, c. 3., Section 91
  2. ^ Ripe for Abuse :: News ::