During the evening sitting on July 28, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, 2020 on third reading. Bill 32 received Royal Assent on July 29, 2020, and is now officially law, resulting in significant changes to the legislation affecting Alberta’s workplaces. These changes aim to streamline rules and reduce red tape to help Albertans toward economic recovery in the midst of the current pandemic and the economic downturn the province has suffered in recent years.
The Legislative Assembly extended its Spring Session sitting dates to continue considering and debating Bill 32. Ultimately, the Bill was passed, despite resistance from NDP opposition members. Bill 32 makes several changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code,and is intended to further the current UCP government’s stated commitment to restore workplace democracy and bring balance to provincial labour laws.Many of the changes made in 2017 and 2018, under the previous NDP government, created practical challenges for employers which this Bill aims to remedy. The changes introduced by Bill 32 were summarized in our previous In a Flash.
The changes to the Employment Standards Code will take effect November 1, 2020, apart from the following provisions, which come into force effective August 15, 2020:
- group termination notice;
- temporary layoff (90 days within a 120-day period); and
- variance and exemption application rules.
The changes to the Labour Relations Code are effective July 29, 2020, the date Bill 32 received Royal Assent, except for the following provisions, which will take effect upon proclamation:
- access to union financial statements/opt-in for union dues;
- early renewal of collective agreements;
- rules for secondary picketing;
- “all-employee” units in the construction sector;
- building trades of Alberta project agreements;
- board standard of review (grievance arbitrator decisions); and
- the inclusion of nurse practitioners in the Labour Relations Code.
We encourage employers to review their existing policies and procedures to ensure they align with the legislative changes before they become effective.
If you have any questions, or need assistance for any other matter relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.