Amendments to the federal Canada Labour Code

Between 2023-2024, a number of important changes are being made to the Canada Labour Code ("CLC"). The CLC is the employment legislation which governs private sector employees who work for federally regulated companies. For example, employees who work for banks, airlines, or telecommunication companies.

In this blog post, we highlight some of the key changes which have already been enacted as well as provide an overview of what is still to come.

Already enacted:

1. Paid medical leave – effective December 1, 2022

A key change to the CLC was the introduction of new paid and unpaid medical leave entitlements. Employees are now entitled to up to 10 paid days of medical leave per year, and up to 27 weeks of unpaid medical leave. For more information on this, please check out previous blog post, Updated medical leave entitlements for federally regulated employees

2. Minimum employee age – effective June 12, 2023

Effective June 12, 2023, amendments came into force which limit federal employers' ability to hire workers under the age of 18. Specifically:

  • The general minimum age for employment was increased from 17 to 18. Employers are only permitted to employ a person under the age of 18 in certain non-hazardous occupations;
  • Employers must not allow employees under the age of 18 to work between 11pm and 6am; and
  • Employers must keep a record of the age of employees under 18 years old who work for them.

As a transition measure, the amendments will not apply to employees who are 17 years old on June 12, 2023, so long as they remain employed by the same employer in the same position.

3. Reimbursement of expenses - effective July 9, 2023

Federal employers are now also required to reimburse employees for "reasonable work-related expenses", with limited exceptions. Employers are required to reimburse said work-related expenses within 30 days of the employee submitting a claim.

The Canada Labour Standards Regulations, enacted under the CLC, provide guidance on what expenses will be considered "work-related" and "reasonable". Some of the relevant factors include whether the expense was connected to or required for the performance of work or to satisfy an occupational health or safety standard, as well as whether the amount was incurred at the request of the employer and whether any amount went beyond the amount necessary to perform the work.

This new expense reimbursement requirement only applies to work-related expenses incurred on or after July 9, 2023.

4. Employee statement and CLC related materials – effective July 9, 2023

Federal employers also have new obligations to provide employees with certain information and material concerning their employment. Specifically:

  • Employee statement:
    • Employers must provide each employee with a written employee statement which includes the following information: the name of the parties; the job title and brief description of duties and responsibilities; the address of the ordinary place of work; start date; term of employment; duration of the probationary period, if any; a description of the necessary qualifications for the position; a description of any required training for the position; hours of work, including information on calculation of those hours and rules regarding overtime; rate of wages/salary and rate of overtime pay; frequency of pay days and frequency of payment of any other remuneration; any mandatory deductions from wages; and information on how the employee can claim reimbursement of reasonable work-related expenses.
    • For existing employees, this statement must be provided within 90 days of the amendment being passed, so no later than October 7, 2023.
    • For new employees, this statement must be provided within 30 days of being hired. Likewise, any time there is a change in the information contained in the statement, the employee must be provided with a new statement within 30 days.
  • CLC materials:
    • Employers must provide employees with copies of any materials developed by the Minister of Labour concerning employees' rights and obligations under Part III of the CLC, as well as post these materials in an accessible place and ensure any employees get updated materials. If terminating an employee, the employer will have to provide the employee with the current materials published by the Minister that relates to termination.
    • For existing employees, these materials must be provided within 90 days of July 9, 2023 or when the Minister first makes the materials available, whichever is later.
    • For new employees, the materials must be provided within 30 days of being hired.

Coming soon:

1. Menstrual products – effective December 15, 2023

Rolling out later this year is a new requirement that federal employers must provide menstrual products in the workplace. This includes making sure each washroom, regardless of gender, has clean and hygienic tampons and menstrual products and a covered container for disposal in each toilet stall/compartment. Alternatively, if employers cannot stock the toilet with the menstrual products, they may provide the products at a different location, so long as it is always accessible to employees and there is a reasonable amount of privacy. These menstrual products must be provided at no cost to the employees.

2. Greater termination entitlements – effective February 1, 2024

Effective next year, changes to the CLC will increase employees' entitlements on termination. Currently, employees are entitled to two weeks of termination notice or pay when terminated without cause, provided they have worked for the employer for at least three months. Once the amendments come into force, employees will be entitled to enhanced termination notice or pay based on length of services as follows:

  • Two weeks after three consecutive months of service;
  • Three weeks after three consecutive years of service; and
  • An additional week per consecutive year of employment, to a maximum of eight weeks.

Additionally, at the time of termination employers will have to provide a written statement to employees which details their: vacation benefits, wages, severance pay; and any other benefits and pay arising from their employment.

It is important to note these amendments do not impact employees' entitlements to additional severance pay, which comes into effect after 12 months of continuous employment, the existing CLC rules relating to group terminations and unjust dismissal, nor employees' common law entitlements. For more information on these topics, check out our previous blog post, Federally Regulated Employees & Termination.


It is important that federal employers and employees alike take the time to bring themselves up to speed with the recent and upcoming changes to the CLC.

  • For employees, understanding your entitlements in the workplace is important, especially as they change and improve over time. You cannot enforce a right you do not know you have.
  • For employers, this may be a prime time to do a general review of employment practices, policies and contracts to make sure they are compliant. Of note, we would recommend doing a review of you hiring protocols, to ensure all employees receive the written employee statement, the required Minister of Labour materials, and that their employment agreements and/or offer letters reflect the changes to expense reimbursement and termination entitlements.

If you have any question about your workplace practices, policies, rights, or obligations, please reach out to a member of the Lee Workplace Law team. We would be happy to help.