Are Your Hours of Work Policies in Line with Bill C-86?

April 9, 2019 by Miguel Mangalindan


Modernizing your workforce starts with modernizing your HR approach.

In today’s labour market, successful truck fleets and logistics companies know that staying abreast of the issues will help them stay ahead of the competition. Follow Trucking HR Canada’s 10 part “Modernizing Your HR Approach” blog series as we navigate emerging trends and share tips for finding, hiring, and retaining the talent you need.

Miguel Mangalindan is a Senior Associate Lawyer at Monkhouse Law where he practices Employment, Human Rights and Disability Insurance Law. He was a panelist at Trucking HR Canada’s Mental Health symposium last October, and recently participated as one of the Learning Highway session presenters at Women with Drive, sharing insights on how Bill C-86 will impact you. This week, we invited him to again share his expertise with us through our Blog Series.

This is the second installment in our three-part contribution to Trucking HR Canada’s “Modernizing your HR Approach” blog series about Bill C-86, which will amend the Canada Labour Code in significant ways for federally regulated employers, including many trucking and logistics companies.

Two of these changes are with respect to hours of work and equal treatment based on employment status.

Hours of Work

Bill C-86 will provide employees with several new break and rest period entitlements, notably an unpaid break of 30 minutes for every five hours of work; a minimum eight-hour rest period between work periods or shifts (with some exceptions); and unpaid breaks for breastfeeding, pumping breastmilk, or medical reasons.

Employers will also be obligated to provide employees with at least 96 hours of written notice of their work schedule. Otherwise, employees can refuse to work any shift in their schedule that starts within 96 hours from the time the schedule is provided to them.

This new requirement will not apply to employees governed by a collective agreement that specifies an alternate time frame for providing the work schedule, or which states that this section in the Code does not apply to those employees.

Furthermore, every employee will be entitled to and shall be granted unpaid breaks for medical reasons. On written request by the employer, the employee must provide a certificate issued by a health care practitioner setting out the length and frequency of the breaks needed for medical reasons.

Equal Treatment

Bill C-86 will prohibit an employer from paying employees differently for performing the same work based on “employment status” under the following conditions:

  • the employees work in the same industrial establishment;
  • they perform substantially the same kind of work;
  • the performance of that work requires substantially the same skill, effort, and responsibility;
  • their work is performed under similar working conditions; and any other factor that may be prescribed by regulation is present.

Exceptions exist if the difference in the employees’ wages is due to a system based on seniority, merit, or the quantity or quality of each employee’s production.

Bill C-86 outlines additional obligations for employers, including having to conduct a review of the employee’s rate of wages, and to provide a written response within 90 days of receiving the employee’s request for review. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who make such a request and employers also cannot reduce any employee’s rate of wages to comply with the changes to the legislation.

Although not specifically a part of the amendments to the Code, Bill C-86 also creates a federal Pay Equity Act to establish a process for the achievement of pay equity by the redressing of systemic gender-based discrimination. I will talk about that in a separate post.