Canada Labour Code amendments: Employers must reimburse work expenses, provide employee information
By John Hyde
Federally regulated employers will need to be aware of and abide by amendments to the Canada Labour Code that are coming into force on July 9, 2023. These amendments include obligations to reimburse employees for work-related expenses and to provide employees with certain information related to employment.
Pursuant to the Order in Council (OIC) released on April 21, 2023, sections 486, 502, 523, 527, and 528 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (BIA) come into force 60 days after the OIC is published in the Canada Gazette.
The OIC was published on May 10, 2023, therefore the referenced sections come into force on July 9, 2023. These sections of the BIA add sections 238.1, 238.2, 253.1, and 253.2 to the Canada Labour Code.
Related amendments to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations will also be coming into force on July 9, 2023. These amendments will add sections 3.1 and 23.1 to the Regulations.
The Administrative Monetary Penalties (Canada Labour Code) Regulations will also be amended to add monetary penalties for breaching the new sections of the Code.
Reimbursement of work-related expenses
Section 486 of the BIA adds sections 238.1 and 238.2 to the Code. Under section 238.1, employers will be required to provide reimbursement for reasonable work-related expenses.
The new section 23.1(1) of the Regulations stipulates factors that are to be considered when determining whether an expense is work-related. These factors include:
- Connection to the employee’s performance of work;
- Whether it is required by the employer;
- Connection to satisfying a requirement of work imposed by an occupational health or safety standard; and
- Whether there is a legitimate business purpose.
The new section 23.1(2) of the Regulations stipulates factors that are to be considered when determining whether the expense is “reasonable.” These factors include:
- Connection to the employee’s performance of work;
- Whether the employer requested the expense;
- If the amount exceeded what was necessary;
- Whether the expense is one normally reimbursed by employers in similar industries;
- Whether the employer pre-authorized the expense;
- Whether it was incurred in good faith; and
- Whether the reimbursement claim includes documentation (e.g., a receipt or invoice).
Employers will be able to come to a written agreement with the employee (or with the union in the case of a unionized workplace) establishing expenses that the employee will be required to pay without reimbursement and the time limit to make reimbursements under s. 238.1 for expenses that the employer is required to pay. As a default, employers have 30 days from the employee’s submission of a reimbursement claim to pay the reimbursement.
It is important to note that section 238.1 of the Code will apply only to expenses incurred on or after July 9, 2023.
Information related to employment
Section 502 of the BIA adds sections 253.1 and 253.2 to the Code.
Under section 253.1, employers will be required to provide employees with copies of any materials made available by the Ministry of Labour that contain information regarding the rights and/or obligations of employees and employers under Part III of the Code. The materials must be made available to employees within the first 30 days of employment, or within 30 days of the materials being updated by the Ministry. The materials must also be posted in the workplace.
Upon termination, an employer must provide the employee with the most up-to-date materials related to termination of employment.
Upon section 253.1 coming into force, employers must provide employees the materials within 90 days from July 9, 2023, or from the date on which the Ministry of Labour makes the materials available, whichever is later.
Under section 253.2, employers will be required to provide employees with a written statement containing specific information about the employee’s job within the first 30 days of employment, and within 30 days of any change to the information contained in the previous statement. The employer must retain a copy of any statement provided under this section for 36 months after the employee’s employment ends.
The new section 3.1 of the Regulations will set out the information that must be contained in the written employment statement. This includes:
- The names of the parties;
- Job title;
- A brief description of job duties;
- Address of ordinary place of work;
- Starting date;
- Term of employment;
- Probationary period, if any;
- Necessary qualifications;
- Required training;
- Hours of work, including information on the calculation of those hours and rules regarding overtime hours;
- Salary/wages and rate of overtime pay;
- Frequency of pay days and the payment of other remuneration;
- Deductions from wages; and
- How the employee can claim reimbursement for work-related expenses.
Employers have 90 days from July 9, 2023 to provide employees with their written statement of employment.
John Hyde is the managing partner at Hyde HR Law in Toronto. He advises management on all aspects of employment and labour law, including representation before administrative tribunals, collective agreement negotiation, arbitrations, wrongful dismissal defence and human rights.
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