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5 Canadian Labour Laws Your International Business Should Know

Posted by Stacey Duggan

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Feb 12, 2015 9:00:00 AM

5_Canadian_Labour_Laws_Your_International_Business_Should_KnowThere are variations between Canadian labour laws and the employment laws in other countries. If you own an international business and you’re hiring Canadian employees to work for your company, you must know and understand the Canadian labour laws to ensure you’re always staying compliant. Here are five laws your international business should know.

1. Employees with Disabilities

In Canada, employees with disabilities are given the same rights to employment as those without disabilities. Not only is it against the law to discriminate against people with disabilities, businesses must also take certain measures to accommodate them in the workplace, regardless of the burden this causes the company. But this doesn’t only include persons with physical disabilities; it also encompasses employees with mental illnesses and drug and alcohol addictions, who are often the most stigmatized in the employment world. No employer can fire, deny a job, or refuse a promotion to an employee with any of these disabilities in Canada.

2. Termination

In many countries, workers are employed “at will”, which means they can be terminated from their positions at any time without cause or notice. However, termination laws differ in Canada. Canadian labour laws state that even if you have cause to fire an employee, you must give him notice or pay him if notice isn’t given. The amount paid and the amount of time needed to give notice varies by province, employee classification, wages, and length of employment.

3. Employment Changes

In Canada, you can’t change a worker’s position or the terms of his position as freely as you can in other countries, like the United States. Canadian labour laws state that an employee is owed a raise or consideration if any changes are made to the status or terms of his employment at a company. The employee must consent to the changes for them to be legally accepted. If an employee refuses to accept the changes and is fired, the employer will owe him the salary, overtime, holiday pay, and bonuses that he would have earned during the time of the statutory notice.

4. Immigration

In Canada, there are strict employment restrictions for non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents working in the country. Under ordinary conditions, foreign workers must obtain work permits, which range from a couple months to a few years, in order to be legally employed in Canada. If you plan to hire a foreign worker, you must apply for a job offer confirmation and demonstrate to the government that you can’t find Canadian workers with the necessary skills for the position and that positive effects will occur for the labour market as a result.

5. Health and Safety

Canada takes workplace safety very seriously. Health and safety is the responsibility of both the employer and the employee. The employees have the right to be informed of any hazards, the right to participate in health and safety committees and the right to refuse unsafe work. The employer is responsible for providing information, preventing accidents and injuries, promoting a safe and healthy workplace, providing appropriate training, supervising work, making regular inspections, and investigating and reporting accidents.

Stay Compliant

When an international business employs Canadian workers, the employer must comply with all the Canadian labour laws that protect them. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. As an employer, you are responsible for knowing and following the appropriate laws that affect your business and the employees who work for you. These five employment laws only scratch the surface. There are many others that you must keep track of and stay compliant with.

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Topics: international business

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