Starting July 9, federally regulated employers under the Canada Labour Code will be required to reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses and provide written employment statements to new employees and existing employees as a result of the previously-enacted Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (Bill C-86) [BIA 2018].
Additionally, beginning on December 15, 2023, federally-regulated employers will be required to provide menstrual products in workplace washrooms or in other feasible locations at the workplace, as we’ve discussed in more detail in our previous blog post.
Reimbursement of Work-Related Expenses
One of the major changes brought about by BIA 2018 is the “Reimbursement of Work-Related Expenses” provision being added to the Canada Labour Code [CLC]. This provision mandates federally-regulated employers to reimburse employees for reasonable work-related expenses, which include those that are connected to the employee’s performance of work and enable them to perform their duties. However, certain exceptions may apply, and different rules may be in place for unionized workplaces regarding reimbursement of expenses.
Employers will have 30 days from the date of an employee’s expense claim to compensate them, unless an alternative time limit is specified in an agreement. It is crucial for employers to evaluate the work-relatedness and reasonableness of each expense to comply with the law. Failure to do so may result in penalties ranging from $500 to $6,000, depending on the business’s size. Lastly, the new provision will apply only to expenses that are incurred on or after July 9, 2023.
Written Employment Statement
Another change brought by BIA 2018 introduces a requirement for employers to provide employees with a written employment statement. Employers must give a written employment statement to new employees within the first 30 days of their employment, and to current employees within 90 days of July 9, 2023.
According to the amendment, the written employment agreement must contain terms addressing the names of the parties in the employment relationship, job title, brief description of duties and responsibilities, term of employment, duration of any probationary period, a description of the necessary qualifications for the position, a description of any required training for the role, work hours, wage rate/salary, payroll frequency, any mandatory deductions, and information about the reimbursement process for reasonable work-related expenses.
If there are any changes to the terms of an employee’s employment after the written employment statement is issued, then the employer is required to issue a revised written employment statement to the employee within 30 days. Employers are also required to retain a copy of each employment statement for 36 months after an employee’s employment ends.
Employers’ and Employees’ Rights and Obligations
In an effort to ensure that employees are well-informed about their rights and obligations, the CLC has also been amended to require employers to provide employees with Ministry of Labour materials regarding such rights and obligations. The amendment requires that such materials must be provided to employees within 90 days of July 9, 2023 or within 90 days from the date the Ministry of Labour releases the materials, whichever is later. An employer is also required to provide the Ministry of Labour materials to new employees within 30 days of their hire and to employees upon termination of their employment.
Failure to comply with the requirement of providing a written employment agreement or the Ministry of Labour’s materials to employees as required by the CLC may result in penalties ranging from $200 to $2000.
With the upcoming changes, it’s important that employers familiarize themselves with the new amendments brought by BIA 2018, review their policies and procedures, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with the CLC. While many employers will already be meeting some of these new requirements, such as by already providing expense reimbursement and providing much of the information to be included in the written employment statements through employment agreements and policies, all employers will have additional steps to take to comply with these new amendments.
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.