In A Flash

The 2017 Federal Budget: What You Need To Know

March 31, 2017

The 2017 Federal Budget: What You Need To Know

The Government of Canada recently released the 2017 Federal Budget.  Many of the commitments outlined in the Budget (if passed into legislation) will significantly impact employers, particularly employers in the federal sector. The Budget proposes the following changes:
Canada Labour Code:

  • Increasing flexibility in work arrangements by providing assistance to federally-regulated employees to request flexible work arrangements from their employer, such as increasing the ability to work from home as well as flexible start and finish times.
  • Modifying the parental, maternity and caregiving leave provisions to correspond with proposed amendments to the Employment Insurance Act (discussed below).
  • Limiting unpaid internships in the federal sector to correspond with the implementation of similar legislation in several provinces.
  • Increasing funding to Employment and Social Development Canada and strengthening compliance and enforcement mechanisms available under the Canada Labour Code.

Employment Insurance Act:

  • Introducing a new caregiving benefit which would entitle Canadians caring for a family member who is critically ill or injured to up to 15 weeks of employment insurance (“EI”) benefits.
  • Extending the parental leave provision by providing parents the choice to either receive EI parental benefits over the current 12 month period at the existing 55% benefit rate or stretching the same amount over an 18 month period with a corresponding lower benefit rate of 33%.
  • Extending the time period within which a woman may claim early EI maternity benefits by allowing a woman to claim EI maternity benefits twelve (12) weeks prior to her due date.

The Federal Government has not yet introduced any bills amending the Employment Insurance Act or the Canada Labour Code, which means these changes are not yet law.  The 2017 Federal Budget is simply an indication of where the Federal Government intends to go. These commitments remain in the development stage and may still be amended before being enacted under legislation.
Before provincially regulated employers are affected by any of these proposed changes, amendments will need to be made to provincial employment standards legislation.  In Ontario, for example, changes may result from the Changing Workplaces Review as discussed in an earlier In A Flash, Make Your Voice Heard! Submissions on the Changing Workplace Review Interim Report.
We will continue to monitor the 2017 Federal Budget, as well as any potential changes to provincial employment standards legislation, and update you on any changes that may impact your organization.  To learn how the 2017 Federal Budget may impact your organization or if you have any questions relating to workplace law, please contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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